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Astrophysicists Discover Energetic Hot Wind from Low-luminosity Active Galactic Nucleus

Manwon Lender

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Supermassive black holes in the universe swallow gas around them. The infalling gas is called black hole accretion flow. In a study published in Nature Astronomy, the group led by Prof. YUAN Feng at Shanghai Astronomical Observatory (SHAO) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, together with the group led by Prof. LI Zhiyuan at Nanjing University, found direct evidence for the existence of an energetic hot wind launched from the hot accretion flow onto a weakly accreting supermassive black hole, representing a step toward understanding accretion processes around black hole.

To interpret the high-velocity and high-temperature plasma, the researchers carried out magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the hot accretion flow onto M81* and produced synthetic X-ray spectrum of the wind launched from the hot accretion flow as predicted by the numerical simulations. The predicted emission lines were in agreement with the Chandra spectrum, providing evidence for the existence of a hot wind. Energetics of this wind was found to be sufficiently strong to affect the close environment of M81*.


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