Comprehensive Analysis of Magnetospheric Gaps around Kerr Black Holes Using 1D GRPIC Simulations

Shota Kisaka, Amir Levinson, Kenji Toma

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Spark gaps are likely the source of plasma in active black hole (BH) magnetospheres. In this paper, we present results of 1D general relativistic particle-in-cell simulations of a starved BH magnetosphere with a realistic treatment of inverse-Compton scattering and pair production, for a broad range of conditions, run times longer than in previous studies, and different setups. We find that following the initial discharge, the system undergoes gradual evolution over prolonged time until either restoring the vacuum state or reaching a state of quasiperiodic oscillations, depending on the spectral shape and luminosity of the ambient radiation field. The oscillations occur near the null charge surface in cases where the global magnetospheric current is in the direction defined by the product of the asymptotic Goldreich-Julian charge density and the radial velocity, while they occur near the boundary of the simulation box when it is the opposite direction (return current). Their amplitude and the resultant luminosity of TeV photons emitted from the gap depend sensitively on the conditions; for the cases studied here the ratio of TeV luminosity to the Blandford-Znajek power ranges from 10-5 to 10-2, suggesting that strong flares may be generated by moderate changes in disk emission. We also examined the dependence of the solution on the initial number of particles per cell (PPC) and found convergence for PPC of about 50 for the cases examined. At lower PPC values the pair multiplicity is found to be artificially high, affecting the solution considerably.

Original languageEnglish
Article number80
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 10


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