Abstract:
We study the dynamics of supermassive black hole binaries embedded in circumbinary gaseous discs, with the SPH code Gadget-2. The sub-parsec binary (of total mass M and mass ratio q=1/3) has excavated a gap and transfers its angular momentum to the self--gravitating disc (M_disc=0.2 M). We explore the changes of the binary eccentricity e, by simulating a sequence of binary models that differ in the initial eccentricity e_0, only. In initially low-eccentric binaries, the eccentricity increases with time, while in high-eccentric binaries e declines, indicating the existence of a limiting eccentricity e_crit that is found to fall in the interval [0.6,0.8]. We also present an analytical interpretation for this saturation limit. An important consequence of the existence of e_crit is the detectability of a significant residual eccentricity e_LISA} by the proposed gravitational wave detector LISA. It is found that at the moment of entering the LISA frequency domain e_LISA ~ 10^{-3}-10^{-2}; a signature of its earlier coupling with the massive circumbinary disc. We also observe large periodic inflows across the gap, occurring on the binary and disc dynamical time scales rather than on the viscous time. These periodic changes in the accretion rate (with amplitudes up to ~100%, depending on the binary eccentricity) can be considered a fingerprint of eccentric sub-parsec binaries migrating inside a circumbinary disc.

Abstract:
We study the interplay between mass transfer, accretion and gravitational torques onto a black hole binary migrating in a self-gravitating, retrograde circumbinary disc. A direct comparison with an identical prograde disc shows that: (i) because of the absence of resonances, the cavity size is a factor a(1+e) smaller for retrograde discs; (ii) nonetheless the shrinkage of a circular binary semi--major axis, a, is identical in both cases; (iii) a circular binary in a retrograde disc remains circular while eccentric binaries grow more eccentric. For non-circular binaries, we measure the orbital decay rates and the eccentricity growth rates to be exponential as long as the binary orbits in the plane of its disc. Additionally, for these co-planar systems, we find that interaction (~ non--zero torque) stems only from the cavity edge plus a(1+e) in the disc, i.e. for dynamical purposes, the disc can be treated as a annulus of small radial extent. We find that simple 'dust' models in which the binary- disc interaction is purely gravitational can account for all main numerical results, both for prograde and retrograde discs. Furthermore, we discuss the possibility of an instability occurring for highly eccentric binaries causing it to leave the disc plane, secularly tilt and converge to a prograde system. Our results suggest that there are two stable configurations for binaries in self-gravitating discs: the special circular retrograde case and an eccentric (e~ 0.6) prograde configuration as a stable attractor.

Abstract:
The equations governing the vertical structure of a stationary keplerian accretion disc are presented. The model is based on the alpha-viscosity, includes self-gravity, convective transport and turbulent pressure. A few properties of the model are discussed for circumstellar and AGN discs. We show the strong sensitivity of the disc structure to the viscous energy deposition towards the vertical axis, specially when entering inside the self-gravitating part of the disc. The local version of the alpha-prescription leads to a "singular" behavior which is also predicted by the vertically averaged model. With respect, a much softer transition is observed with the "alpha-P" formalism. Turbulent pressure is important only for alpha > 0.1. It lowers vertical density gradients, significantly thickens the disc, tends to wash out density inversions and pushes the self-gravitating region to slightly larger radii. Curves localizing the inner edge of the self-gravitating disc as functions of the viscosity parameter and accretion rate are given. The lower alpha, the closer to the center the self-gravitating regime, and the sensitivity to the accretion rate is generally weak, except for alpha < 0.1. This study suggests that models aiming to describe T-Tauri discs beyond about a few to a few tens astronomical units from the central protostar using the alpha-theory should consider vertical self-gravity. The Primitive Solar Nebula was probably a bit (if not strongly) self-gravitating at the actual orbit of giant planets. Alpha-discs hosted by active galaxies are self-gravitating beyond about a thousand Schwarzchild radii. The inferred surface density remains too high to lower the accretion time scale. More efficient mechanisms driving accretion are required.

Abstract:
Fluid discs and tori around black holes are discussed within different approaches and with the emphasis on the role of disc gravity. First reviewed are the prospects of investigating the gravitational field of a black hole--disc system by analytical solutions of stationary, axially symmetric Einstein's equations. Then, more detailed considerations are focused to middle and outer parts of extended disc-like configurations where relativistic effects are small and the Newtonian description is adequate. Within general relativity, only a static case has been analysed in detail. Results are often very inspiring, however, simplifying assumptions must be imposed: ad hoc profiles of the disc density are commonly assumed and the effects of frame-dragging and completely lacking. Astrophysical discs (e.g. accretion discs in active galactic nuclei) typically extend far beyond the relativistic domain and are fairly diluted. However, self-gravity is still essential for their structure and evolution, as well as for their radiation emission and the impact on the environment around. For example, a nuclear star cluster in a galactic centre may bear various imprints of mutual star--disc interactions, which can be recognised in observational properties, such as the relation between the central mass and stellar velocity dispersion.

Abstract:
(abridged) Vortices are believed to play a role in the formation of km-sized planetesimals. However, vortex dynamics is commonly studied in non-self-gravitating discs. The main goal here is to examine the effects of disc self-gravity on vortex dynamics. For this purpose, we employ the 2D self-gravitating shearing sheet approximation. A simple cooling law with a constant cooling time is adopted, such that the disc settles down into a quasi-steady gravitoturbulent state. In this state, vortices appear as transient structures undergoing recurring phases of formation, growth to sizes comparable to a local Jeans scale and eventual shearing and destruction due to the combined effects of self-gravity and background Keplerian shear. Each phase typically lasts about 2 orbital periods or less. As a result, in self-gravitating discs the overall dynamical picture of vortex evolution is irregular consisting of many transient vortices at different evolutionary stages and, therefore, with various sizes up to the local Jeans scale. Vortices generate density waves during evolution, which turn into shocks. Therefore, the dynamics of density waves and vortices are coupled implying that, in general, one should consider both vortex and spiral density wave modes in order to get a proper understanding of self-gravitating disc dynamics. Our results suggest that given such an irregular and rapidly varying character of vortex evolution in self-gravitating discs, it may be difficult for such vortices to effectively trap dust particles. Further study of the behaviour of dust particles embedded in a self-gravitating gaseous disc is, however, required to strengthen this conclusion.

Abstract:
In this paper, the effect of self-gravity on the protoplanetary discs is investigated. The mechanisms of angular momentum transport and energy dissipation are assumed to be the viscosity due to turbulence in the accretion disc. The energy equation is considered in situation that the released energy by viscosity dissipation is balanced with cooling processes. The viscosity is obtained by equality of dissipation and cooling functions, and is used for angular momentum equation. The cooling rate of the flow is calculated by a prescription, $d u/d t=-u/\tau_{cool}$, that $u$ and $\tau_{cool}$ are internal energy and cooling timescale, respectively. The ratio of local cooling to dynamical timescales $\Omega \tau_{cool}$ is assumed as a constant and also as a function of local temperature. The solutions for protoplanetary discs show that in situation of $\Omega \tau_{cool} = constant$, the disc does not show any gravitational instability in small radii for a typically mass accretion rate, $\dot{M} = 10^{-6} M_{\odot} yr^{-1}$, while by choosing $\Omega \tau_{cool}$ as a function of temperature, the gravitational instability for this amount of mass accretion rate or even less can occur in small radii. Also, by study of the viscous parameter $\alpha$, we find that the strength of turbulence in the inner part of self-gravitating protoplanetary discs is very low. These results are qualitatively consistent with direct numerical simulations of protoplanetary discs.

Abstract:
Latest developments in the dynamics of density waves and vortices in selfgravitating protoplanetary discs is reviewed. It is well established by now that in discs, vortices are dynamically coupled with density waves due to the disc’s differential rotation, or shear. On the other hand, density waves play a central role in the theory of self-gravitating discs and recently revealed their coupling with vortices implies that the latter can also be subject to self-gravity effects, thus taking active part in defining overall dynamics of self-gravitating discs. We describe the specific features of vortex dynamics and evolution in self-gravitating discs with and without driving by baroclinic or Rossby wave instabilities and point out differences between these two case.

Abstract:
Self-gravity becomes competitive as an angular momentum transport process in accretion discs at large radii, where the temperature is low enough that external irradiation likely contributes to the thermal balance. Irradiation is known to weaken the strength of disc self-gravity, and can suppress it entirely if the disc is maintained above the threshold for linear instability. However, its impact on the susceptibility of the disc to fragmentation is less clear. We use two-dimensional numerical simulations to investigate the evolution of self-gravitating discs as a function of the local cooling time and strength of irradiation. In the regime where the disc does not fragment, we show that local thermal equilibrium continues to determine the stress - which can be represented as an effective viscous alpha - out to very long cooling times (at least 240 dynamical times). In this regime, the power spectrum of the perturbations is uniquely set by the effective viscous alpha and not by the cooling rate. Fragmentation occurs for cooling times tau < beta_crit / Omega, where beta_crit is a weak function of the level of irradiation. We find that beta_crit declines by approximately a factor of two, as irradiation is increased from zero up to the level where instability is almost quenched. The numerical results imply that irradiation cannot generally avert fragmentation of self-gravitating discs at large radii; if other angular momentum transport sources are weak mass will build up until self-gravity sets in, and fragmentation will ensue.

Abstract:
We study the interplay between gas accretion and gravity torques in changing a binary elements and its total angular momentum (L) budget. Especially, we analyse the physical origin of the gravity torques (T_g) and their location within the disc. We analyse 3D SPH simulations of the evolution of initially quasi-circular massive black hole binaries (BHBs) residing in the central hollow of massive self-gravitating circumbinary discs. We use different thermodynamics within the cavity and for the numerical size of the black holes to show that (i) the BHB eccentricity growth found previously is a general result, independent of the accretion and the adopted thermodynamics; (ii) the semi-major axis decay depends both on the T_g and on the interplay with the disc-binary L-transfer due to accretion; (iii) the spectral structure of the T_g is predominately caused by disc edge overdensities and spiral arms developing in the body of the disc and, in general, does not reflect directly the period of the binary; (iv) the net T_g changes sign across the BHB corotation radius. We quantify the relative importance of the two, which appear to depend on the thermodynamical properties of the instreaming gas, and which is crucial in assessing the disc-binary L-transfer; (v) the net torque manifests as a purely kinematic (non-resonant) effect as it stems from the cavity, where the material flows in and out in highly eccentric orbits. Both accretion onto the black holes and the interaction with gas streams inside the cavity must be taken into account to assess the fate of the BHB. Moreover, the total torque exerted by the disc affects L(BHB) by changing all the elements (mass, mass ratio, eccentricity, semimajor axis) of the BHB. Common prescriptions equating tidal torque to semi-major axis shrinking might therefore be poor approximations for real astrophysical systems.

Abstract:
Using 2D smoothed particle hydrodynamics, we investigate the distribution of wait times between strong shocks in a turbulent, self-gravitating accretion disc. We show the resulting distributions do not depend strongly on the cooling time or resolution of the disc and that they are consistent with the predictions of earlier work (Young & Clarke 2015; Cossins et al. 2009, 2010). We use the distribution of wait times between shocks to estimate the likelihood of stochastic fragmentation by gradual contraction of shear-resistant clumps on the cooling time scale. We conclude that the stochastic fragmentation mechanism (Paardekooper 2012) cannot change the radius at which fragmentation is possible by more than ~20%, restricting direct gravitational collapse as a mechanism for giant planet formation to the outer regions of protoplanetary discs.