Lorentz Seminar - Bart Ripperda (Joint Princeton/Flatiron Postdoctoral Fellow): "How do black holes shine?"



11:30 hrs


Casimir room (Leiden)


Astrophysical black holes are surrounded by accretion disks, jets, and coronae consisting of magnetized, (near)-collisionless relativistic plasma. They produce observable high-energy radiation in the form of short, intense flares. It is currently unclear where and how this emission is produced. The radiation is typically non-thermal, implying a power-law distribution of emitting relativistic electrons. Magnetic reconnection is a viable mechanism to tap the large reservoir of magnetic energy in these systems and accelerate electrons to extreme energies. The accelerated electrons can then emit high-energy photons that themselves may strongly interact with the plasma, rendering a highly nonlinear system. Modeling these systems necessitates a combination of magnetohydrodynamic models to capture the global dynamics of the formation of dissipation regions, and a kinetic treatment of plasma processes that are responsible for particle acceleration, pair creation and annihilation, and radiation. I will present novel studies of flaring and high-energy emission signatures from regions close to black hole event horizons, using both first-principles general relativistic kinetic particle-in-cell simulations and global large-scale three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamics models. I will answer the question of how well fluid-type models like magnetohydrodynamics can capture collisionless plasma physics. With a combination of models, I determine where and how dissipation of magnetic energy occurs, and what kind of emission signatures are typically produced. In the end, I will outline how my approach of global magnetohydrodynamics and kinetic models will enable quantitative comparisons with observations of multiwavelength observations of radio, X-ray, and TeV emission from accreting black holes and potentially study the structure of spacetime.