Abstract:
We describe a new Godunov algorithm for relativistic magnetohydrodynamics (RMHD) that combines a simple, unsplit second order accurate integrator with the constrained transport (CT) method for enforcing the solenoidal constraint on the magnetic field. A variety of approximate Riemann solvers are implemented to compute the fluxes of the conserved variables. The methods are tested with a comprehensive suite of multidimensional problems. These tests have helped us develop a hierarchy of correction steps that are applied when the integration algorithm predicts unphysical states due to errors in the fluxes, or errors in the inversion between conserved and primitive variables. Although used exceedingly rarely, these corrections dramatically improve the stability of the algorithm. We present preliminary results from the application of these algorithms to two problems in RMHD: the propagation of supersonic magnetized jets, and the amplification of magnetic field by turbulence driven by the relativistic Kelvin-Helmholtz instability (KHI). Both of these applications reveal important differences between the results computed with Riemann solvers that adopt different approximations for the fluxes. For example, we show that use of Riemann solvers which include both contact and rotational discontinuities can increase the strength of the magnetic field within the cocoon by a factor of ten in simulations of RMHD jets, and can increase the spectral resolution of three-dimensional RMHD turbulence driven by the KHI by a factor of 2. This increase in accuracy far outweighs the associated increase in computational cost. Our RMHD scheme is publicly available as part of the Athena code.

Abstract:
We study the collimation of relativistic hydrodynamic jets by the pressure of an ambient medium in the limit where the jet interior has lost causal contact with its surroundings. For a jet with an ultrarelativistic equation of state and external pressure that decreases as a power of spherical radius, p \propto r^(-eta), the jet interior will lose causal contact when eta > 2. However, the outer layers of the jet gradually collimate toward the jet axis as long as eta < 4, leading to the formation of a shocked boundary layer. Assuming that pressure-matching across the shock front determines the shape of the shock, we study the resulting structure of the jet in two ways: first by assuming that the pressure remains constant across the shocked boundary layer and looking for solutions to the shock jump equations, and then by constructing self-similar boundary-layer solutions that allow for a pressure gradient across the shocked layer. We demonstrate that the constant-pressure solutions can be characterized by four initial parameters that determine the jet shape and whether the shock closes to the axis. We show that self-similar solutions for the boundary layer can be constructed that exhibit a monotonic decrease in pressure across the boundary layer from the contact discontinuity to the shock front, and that the addition of this pressure gradient in our initial model generally causes the shock front to move outwards, creating a thinner boundary layer and decreasing the tendency of the shock to close. We discuss trends based on the value of the pressure power-law index eta.

Abstract:
We report on a global, three-dimensional GRMHD simulation of an accretion torus embedded in a large scale vertical magnetic field orbiting a Schwarzschild black hole. This simulation investigates how a large scale vertical field evolves within a turbulent accretion disk and whether global magnetic field configurations suitable for launching jets and winds can develop. We find that a "coronal mechanism" of magnetic flux motion, which operates largely outside the disk body, dominates global flux evolution. In this mechanism, magnetic stresses driven by orbital shear create large-scale half-loops of magnetic field that stretch radially inward and then reconnect, leading to discontinuous jumps in the location of magnetic flux. In contrast, little or no flux is brought in directly by accretion within the disk itself. The coronal mechanism establishes a dipole magnetic field in the evacuated funnel around the orbital axis with a field intensity regulated by a combination of the magnetic and gas pressures in the inner disk. These results prompt a reevaluation of previous descriptions of magnetic flux motion associated with accretion. Local pictures are undercut by the intrinsically global character of magnetic flux. Formulations in terms of an "effective viscosity" competing with an "effective resistivity" are undermined by the nonlinearity of of the magnetic dynamics and the fact that the same turbulence driving mass motion (traditionally identified as "viscosity") can alter magnetic topology.

Abstract:
Sub-mm observations of protoplanetary disks now approach the acuity needed to measure the turbulent broadening of molecular lines. These measurements constrain disk angular momentum transport, and furnish evidence of the turbulent environment within which planetesimal formation takes place. We use local magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of the magnetorotational instability (MRI) to predict the distribution of turbulent velocities in low mass protoplanetary disks, as a function of radius and height above the mid-plane. We model both ideal MHD disks, and disks in which Ohmic dissipation results in a dead zone of suppressed turbulence near the mid-plane. Under ideal conditions, the disk mid-plane is characterized by a velocity distribution that peaks near v \simeq 0.1cs (where cs is the local sound speed), while supersonic velocities are reached at z > 3H (where H is the pressure scale height). Residual velocities of v \approx 0.01cs persist near the mid-plane in dead zones, while the surface layers remain active. Anisotropic variation of the linewidth with disk inclination is modest. We compare our MHD results to hydrodynamic simulations in which large-scale forcing is used to initiate similar turbulent velocities. We show that the qualitative trend of increasing v with height, seen in the MHD case, persists for forced turbulence and is likely a generic property of disk turbulence. Percent level determinations of v at different heights within the disk, or spatially resolved observations that probe the inner disk containing the dead zone region, are therefore needed to test whether the MRI is responsible for protoplanetary disk turbulence.

Abstract:
We study how the structure and variability of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence in accretion discs converge with domain size. Our results are based on a series of vertically stratified local simulations, computed using the Athena code, that have fixed spatial resolution, but varying radial and azimuthal extent (from \Delta R = 0.5H to 16H, where H is the vertical scale height). We show that elementary local diagnostics of the turbulence, including the Shakura-Sunyaev {\alpha} parameter, the ratio of Maxwell stress to magnetic energy, and the ratio of magnetic to fluid stresses, converge to within the precision of our measurements for spatial domains of radial size Lx \geq 2H. We obtain {\alpha} = 0.02-0.03, consistent with recent results. Very small domains (Lx = 0.5H) return anomalous results, independent of spatial resolution. The convergence with domain size is only valid for a limited set of diagnostics: larger spatial domains admit the emergence of dynamically important mesoscale structures. In our largest simulations, the Maxwell stress shows a significant large scale non-local component, while the density develops long-lived axisymmetric perturbations (zonal flows) at the 20% level. Most strikingly, the variability of the disc in fixed-sized patches decreases strongly as the simulation volume increases. We find generally good agreement between our largest local simulations and global simulations with comparable spatial resolution. There is no direct evidence that the presence of curvature terms or radial gradients in global calculations materially affect the turbulence, except to perhaps introduce an outer radial scale for mesoscale structures. The demonstrated importance of mean magnetic fields, seen in both large local and global simulations implies that the growth and saturation of these fields is likely of critical importance for the evolution of accretion discs. (abridged)

Abstract:
We investigate the effect of shear viscosity and Ohmic resistivity on the magnetorotational instability (MRI) in vertically stratified accretion disks through a series of local simulations with the Athena code. First, we use a series of unstratified simulations to calibrate physical dissipation as a function of resolution and background field strength; the effect of the magnetic Prandtl number, Pm = viscosity/resistivity, on the turbulence is captured by ~32 grid zones per disk scale height, H. In agreement with previous results, our stratified disk calculations are characterized by a subthermal, predominately toroidal magnetic field that produces MRI-driven turbulence for |z| < 2 H. Above |z| = 2 H, magnetic pressure dominates and the field is buoyantly unstable. Large scale radial and toroidal fields are also generated near the mid-plane and subsequently rise through the disk. The polarity of this mean field switches on a roughly 10 orbit period in a process that is well-modeled by an alpha-omega dynamo. Turbulent stress increases with Pm but with a shallower dependence compared to unstratified simulations. For sufficiently large resistivity, on the order of cs H/1000, where cs is the sound speed, MRI turbulence within 2 H of the mid-plane undergoes periods of resistive decay followed by regrowth. This regrowth is caused by amplification of toroidal field via the dynamo. This process results in large amplitude variability in the stress on 10 to 100 orbital timescales, which may have relevance for partially ionized disks that are observed to have high and low accretion states.

Abstract:
We use a global magnetohydrodynamic simulation of a geometrically thin accretion disk to investigate the locality and detailed structure of turbulence driven by the magnetorotational instability (MRI). The model disk has an aspect ratio $H / R \simeq 0.07$, and is computed using a higher-order Godunov MHD scheme with accurate fluxes. We focus the analysis on late times after the system has lost direct memory of its initial magnetic flux state. The disk enters a saturated turbulent state in which the fastest growing modes of the MRI are well-resolved, with a relatively high efficiency of angular momentum transport $< < \alpha > > \approx 2.5 \times 10^{-2}$. The accretion stress peaks at the disk midplane, above and below which exists a moderately magnetized corona with patches of superthermal field. By analyzing the spatial and temporal correlations of the turbulent fields, we find that the spatial structure of the magnetic and kinetic energy is moderately well-localized (with correlation lengths along the major axis of $2.5H$ and $1.5H$ respectively), and generally consistent with that expected from homogenous incompressible turbulence. The density field, conversely, exhibits both a longer correlation length and a long correlation time, results which we ascribe to the importance of spiral density waves within the flow. Consistent with prior results, we show that the mean local stress displays a well-defined correlation with the local vertical flux, and that this relation is apparently causal (in the sense of the flux stimulating the stress) during portions of a global dynamo cycle. We argue that the observed flux-stress relation supports dynamo models in which the structure of coronal magnetic fields plays a central role in determining the dynamics of thin-disk accretion.

Abstract:
We present the results of a numerical investigation of current-driven instability in magnetized jets. Utilizing the well-tested, relativistic magnetohydrodynamic code Athena, we construct an ensemble of local, co-moving plasma columns in which initial radial force balance is achieved through various combinations of magnetic, pressure, and rotational forces. We then examine the resulting flow morphologies and energetics to determine the degree to which these systems become disrupted, the amount of kinetic energy amplification attained, and the non-linear saturation behaviors. Our most significant finding is that the details of initial force balance have a pronounced effect on the resulting flow morphology. Models in which the initial magnetic field is force-free deform, but do not become disrupted. Systems that achieve initial equilibrium by balancing pressure gradients and/or rotation against magnetic forces, however, tend to shred, mix, and develop turbulence. In all cases, the linear growth of current-driven instabilities is well-represented by analytic models. CDI-driven kinetic energy amplification is slower and saturates at a lower value in force-free models than in those that feature pressure gradients and/or rotation. In rotating columns, we find that magnetized regions undergoing rotational shear are driven toward equipartition between kinetic and magnetic energies. We show that these results are applicable for a large variety of physical parameters, but we caution that algorithmic decisions (such as choice of Riemann solver) can affect the evolution of these systems more than physically motivated parameters.

Abstract:
This document is based on a question asked in the Dark Side of the Universe 2010 conference in Leon, Mexico, when a researcher from India asked the author about how to obtain a stability analysis of massive gravitons. The answer to this question involves an extension of the usual Pauli_Fiertz Langrangian as written by Ortin, with non- zero graviton mass contributing to a relationship between the trace of a revised GR stress-energy tensor (assuming non- zero graviton mass), and the trace of a revised symmetric tensor times a tiny mass for a 4 dimensional graviton. The resulting analysis makes use of Visser’s treatment of a stress en-ergy tensor, with experimental applications discussed in the resulting analysis. If the square of frequency of a massive graviton is real valued and greater than zero, stability can be possibly confirmed experimentally.

Abstract:
We ask if Octonionic quantum gravity is a relevant consideration near the Planck scale. Furthermore, we examine whether gravitational waves would be generated during the initial phase, , of the universe when triggered by changes in spacetime geometry; i.e. what role would an increase in degrees of freedom have in setting the conditions during , so that the result of these conditions can be observed and analyzed by a gravitational detector. The micro physics interaction is due to the formation of a pre Planckian to Planckian space time transition in spatial dimensions at and near the Planck dimensional values, i.e. 10–33 centimeters in spatial dimensions. This transition would be abrupt and arising in micro physics regimes of space time.