MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMIC SIMULATIONS OF BLACK HOLE ACCRETION
Avara, Mark James
Reynolds, Christopher S
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Black holes embody one of the few, simple, solutions to the Einstein field equations that describe our modern understanding of gravitation. In isolation they are small, dark, and elusive. However, when a gas cloud or star wanders too close, they light up our universe in a way no other cosmic object can. The processes of magnetohydrodynamics which describe the accretion inflow and outflows of plasma around black holes are highly coupled and nonlinear and so require numerical experiments for elucidation. These processes are at the heart of astrophysics since black holes, once they somehow reach super-massive status, influence the evolution of the largest structures in the universe. It has been my goal, with the body of work comprising this thesis, to explore the ways in which the influence of black holes on their surroundings differs from the predictions of standard accretion models. I have especially focused on how magnetization of the greater black hole environment can impact accretion systems.