Accretion disks are important for many astrophysical phenomena, including galactic nuclei, interacting binary stars, and young stellar objects. The central issue in the theory of accretion disks is to identify the dominant mechanisms that regulate angular momentum transfer and mass flow in a variety of contexts. In the first part of this review, we described some recent advances in the study of the physical processes that may be present in accretion disks. Concurrent with these theoretical developments, the arrival of high-resolution astronomical instruments has led to explosive progress on the observational side. In many cases, the study of accretion disks has evolved from their inferred presence based on circumstantial evidence to direct imaging and detailed spectral analyses. Here, we summarize the theoretical interpretation of these data. We review the constraints that may be imposed on the efficiency and nature of angular momentum transfer processes in a variety of astrophysical contexts.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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