1932

Abstract

Black hole accretion flows can be divided into two broad classes: cold and hot. Whereas cold accretion flows consist of cool optically thick gas and are found at relatively high mass accretion rates, hot accretion flows, the topic of this review, are virially hot and optically thin, and occur at lower mass accretion rates. They are described by accretion solutions such as the advection-dominated accretion flow and luminous hot accretion flow. Because of energy advection, the radiative efficiency of these flows is in general lower than that of a standard thin accretion disk. Moreover, the efficiency decreases with decreasing mass accretion rate. Observations show that hot accretion flows are associated with jets. In addition, theoretical arguments suggest that hot flows should produce strong winds. Hot accretion flows are believed to be present in low-luminosity active galactic nuclei and in black hole X-ray binaries in the hard and quiescent states. The prototype is Sgr A*, the ultralow-luminosity supermassive black hole at our Galactic center. The jet, wind, and radiation from a supermassive black hole with a hot accretion flow can interact with the external interstellar medium and modify the evolution of the host galaxy.

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2014-08-18
2024-06-22
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