A COSMIC BATTERY RECONSIDERED

Authors: G.S. Bisnovatyi-Kogan, R.V.L. Lovelace, & V.A. Belinski  

We revisit the problem of magnetic field generation in accretion flows onto black holes owing to the excess radiation force on electrons. This excess force may arise from the Poynting-Robertson effect. Instead of a recent claim of the generation of dynamically important magnetic fields, we establish the validity of earlier results from 1977 that show that only small magnetic fields are generated. The radiative force causes the magnetic field to initially grow linearly with time. However, this linear growth holds for only a restricted time interval that is of the order of the accretion time of the matter. The large magnetic fields recently found result from the fact that the linear growth is unrestricted. A model of the Poynting-Robertson magnetic field generation close to the horizon of a Schwarzschild black hole is solved exactly using general relativity, and the field is also found to be dynamically insignificant. These weak magnetic fields may however be important as seed fields for dynamos.

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Last updated on 29.01.07