The effect of radiation stress on gas motions in AGN accretion discs 

Authors: Mott, A. S.; Lovelace, R. V. E

In this paper we look at one of the effects of irradiation on a warped accretion disc in the context of active galactic nuclei (AGN). A warp will catch a substantial amount of the radiation emitted by the central object. We consider the fluid motions that may arise inside a warped disc when the surface is subject to a radiation stress, and also the net mass flows that result. We find that, to first order, we have a balance of the viscous and Coriolis-type forces. The radial radiation stress causes outward motion of the surface layer, but only the azimuthal Poynting-Robertson drag leads to an increase in the net accretion rate. We investigate the distribution of the velocity perturbations and find them to be significant in determining the local structure of the disc. An unexpected result is that the picture changes significantly when we take into account the periodic illumination of the warped disc. A type of resonance at the local Keplerian rotation frequency causes a flow that penetrates the whole thickness of the disc; these flows are faster than the flows due to unchanging illumination. They totally dominate the induced flows in terms of sheer mass, but significant impact on disc structure still occurs only near the surface, where velocity perturbations typically go up to some kilometres per second.

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Last updated on 29.01.07