Source to Accretion Disk Tilt

Preprint English OPEN
Montgomery, M. M. ; Martin, E. L. (2010)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/722/2/989
  • Subject: Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
    arxiv: Astrophysics::Galaxy Astrophysics | Astrophysics::Earth and Planetary Astrophysics | Astrophysics::Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

Many different system types retrogradely precess, and retrograde precession could be from a tidal torque by the secondary on a misaligned accretion disk. However, a source to cause and maintain disk tilt is unknown. In this work, we show that accretion disks can tilt due to a force called lift. Lift results from differing gas stream supersonic speeds over and under an accretion disk. Because lift acts at the disk's center of pressure, a torque is applied around a rotation axis passing through the disk's center of mass. The disk responds to lift by pitching around the disk's line of nodes. If the gas stream flow ebbs, then lift also ebbs and the disk attempts to return to its original orientation. To first approximation, lift does not depend on magnetic fields or radiation sources but does depend on mass and the surface area of the disk. Also, for disk tilt to be initiated, a minimum mass transfer rate must be exceeded. For example, a $10^{-11}M_{\odot}$ disk around a 0.8$M_{\odot}$ compact central object requires a mass transfer rate greater than $\sim10^{-13}$M$_{\odot}$yr$^{-1}$, a value well below known mass transfer rates in Cataclysmic Variable Dwarf Novae systems that retrogradely precess and that exhibit negative superhumps in their light curves and a value well below mass transfer rates in protostellar forming systems.
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