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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

High-Performance Fully Coupled Radiation-MHD Simulations of Accreting Black Hole Systems

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The aim of this project is to advance the state-of-the-art by including coupled radiation and magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) physics with dynamic general relativistic (GR) gravity in our simulation codes. We intend to research and develop a powerful new computational tool to simulate relativistic radiation-MHD coupled systems.  We will perform cutting-edge simulations of accreting black holes to learn about the fundamental nature of these important astrophysical sources, and to provide observers and mission teams with improved theoretical predictions.  The new software will be employed to produce realistic time-varying spectra of accretion disks around binary black holes (BBHs), the environments of neutron star (NS) mergers (e.g., GW170817), gamma-ray bursts, and single black hole (BH) accretion disks (active galactic nuclei, X-ray binaries, tidal disruption events).  A key component of our project will be to develop an interface between simulation data and analysis tools used by astronomers at GSFC and world-wide.  Specifically, we will develop a system for incorporating our ab initio simulated spectra into Xspec to provide the ability to compare observational data to our spectra with minimal assumptions and systematic error.  Xspec  is the principal tool used world-wide to analyze X-ray spectra. 

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