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Science. 2013 Jan 4;339(6115):49-52. doi: 10.1126/science.1230811. Epub 2012 Nov 15.

Alignment of magnetized accretion disks and relativistic jets with spinning black holes.

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Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94309, USA.


Accreting black holes (BHs) produce intense radiation and powerful relativistic jets, which are affected by the BH's spin magnitude and direction. Although thin disks might align with the BH spin axis via the Bardeen-Petterson effect, this does not apply to jet systems with thick disks. We used fully three-dimensional general relativistic magnetohydrodynamical simulations to study accreting BHs with various spin vectors and disk thicknesses and with magnetic flux reaching saturation. Our simulations reveal a "magneto-spin alignment" mechanism that causes magnetized disks and jets to align with the BH spin near BHs and to reorient with the outer disk farther away. This mechanism has implications for the evolution of BH mass and spin, BH feedback on host galaxies, and resolved BH images for the accreting BHs in SgrA* and M87.

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