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Physics  1999 

Relativistic Accretion

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A brief summary of the properties of astrophysical black holes is presented. Various modes of accretion are distinguished, corresponding to accretion at rates from well below to well above the Eddington rate. The importance of mass loss is emphasized when the accreting gas cannot radiate and it is asserted that a strong wind is likely to be necessary to carry off mass, angular momentum and energy from the accreting gas. The possible importance of the black hole spin in the formation of jets and in dictating the relative importance of non-thermal emission over thermal radiation is discussed.


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