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Disk Emission from Magneto-hydrodynamic Simulations of Spinning Black Holes
By Jeremy D. Schnittman, Julian H. Krolik, Scott C. Noble
Published in The Astrophysical Journal 819, 48 (Friday, February 26, 2016)


We present the results of a new series of global, three-dimensional, relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of thin accretion disks around spinning black holes. The disks have aspect ratios of $H/R\sim 0.05$ and spin parameters of $a/M=0,0.5,0.9$, and 0.99. Using the ray-tracing code Pandurata, we generate broadband thermal spectra and polarization signatures from the MHD simulations. We find that the simulated spectra can be well fit with a simple, universal emissivity profile that better reproduces the behavior of the emission from the inner disk, compared to traditional analyses carried out using a Novikov–Thorne thin disk model. Finally, we show how spectropolarization observations can be used to convincingly break the spin-inclination degeneracy well known to the continuum-fitting method of measuring black hole spin.