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Search Results: 1 - 10 of 728 matches for " Kristen Menou "
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Black Hole Accretion Disks On The Edge
Kristen Menou
Physics , 2003, DOI: 10.1086/377690
Abstract: The local axisymmetric stability of hydrodynamical and magnetized, nearly-Keplerian gaseous accretion disks around non-rotating black holes is examined in the vicinity of the classical marginally-stable orbit (at radii ~ R_ms). An approximate Paczynski-Wiita pseudo-Newtonian potential is used. Hydrodynamical disks are linearly unstable inside a radius which differs slightly from the classical R_ms value because of finite pressure and radial stratification effects. Linear stresses associated with unstable hydrodynamical modes vanish exactly at the radius of marginal stability and are generally positive inside of that radius. When a magnetic field is introduced, however, the concept of radius of marginal stability becomes largely irrelevant because there are linearly unstable magneto-rotational modes everywhere. Associated linear stresses are positive and continuous across the region of hydrodynamical marginal stability, even for large-scale "hydro-like" modes subject only to weak magnetic tension. This conclusion is valid for arbitrarily thin disks (in ideal MHD) and it does not require a large-scale "radially-connecting" magnetic field. Results on hydrodynamical diskoseismic modes trapped in deep relativistic potential wells should be revised to account for the short-wavelength Alfven-like behavior of inertio-gravity waves in magnetized disks.
Atmospheric Circulation and Composition of GJ1214b
Kristen Menou
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/744/1/L16
Abstract: The exoplanet GJ1214b presents an interesting example of compositional degeneracy for low-mass planets. Its atmosphere may be composed of water, super-solar or solar metallicity material. We present atmospheric circulation models of GJ1214b for these three compositions, with explicit grey radiative transfer and an optional treatment of MHD bottom drag. All models develop strong, superrotating zonal winds (~ 1-2 km/s). The degree of eastward heat advection, which can be inferred from secondary eclipse and thermal phase curve measurements, varies greatly between the models. These differences are understood as resulting from variations in the radiative times at the thermal photosphere, caused by separate molecular weight and opacity effects. Our GJ1214b models illustrate how atmospheric circulation can be used as a probe of composition for similar tidally-locked exoplanets in the mini-Neptune/waterworld class.
Probing Distant Massive Black Holes with LISA
Kristen Menou
Physics , 2003, DOI: 10.1088/0264-9381/20/10/305
Abstract: Idealized models are used to illustrate the potential of the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) as a probe of the largely unknown population of cosmologically-distant Massive Black Holes (MBHs) and as a tool to measure their masses with unprecedented accuracy. The models suggest that LISA will most efficiently probe a MBH population of lower mass than the one found in bright quasars and nearby galactic nuclei. The mass spectrum of these MBHs could constrain formation scenarios for high-redshift, low-mass galaxies.
Magnetic Scaling Laws for the Atmospheres of Hot Giant Exoplanets
Kristen Menou
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/745/2/138
Abstract: We present scaling laws for advection, radiation, magnetic drag and ohmic dissipation in the atmospheres of hot giant exoplanets. In the limit of weak thermal ionization, ohmic dissipation increases with the planetary equilibrium temperature (T_eq >~ 1000 K) faster than the insolation power does, eventually reaching values >~ 1% of the insolation power, which may be sufficient to inflate the radii of hot Jupiters. At higher T_eq values still, magnetic drag rapidly brakes the atmospheric winds, which reduces the associated ohmic dissipation power. For example, for a planetary field strength B=10G, the fiducial scaling laws indicate that ohmic dissipation exceeds 1% of the insolation power over the equilibrium temperature range T_eq ~ 1300-2000 K, with a peak contribution at T_eq ~ 1600 K. Evidence for magnetically dragged winds at the planetary thermal photosphere could emerge in the form of reduced longitudinal offsets for the dayside infrared hotspot. This suggests the possibility of an anticorrelation between the amount of hotspot offset and the degree of radius inflation, linking the atmospheric and interior properties of hot giant exoplanets in an observationally testable way. While providing a useful framework to explore the magnetic scenario, the scaling laws also reveal strong parameter dependencies, in particular with respect to the unknown planetary magnetic field strength.
The Quiescence of Dwarf Novae and X-ray Transients
Kristen Menou
Physics , 2001,
Abstract: Our understanding of the structure and properties of accretion disks in quiescent Dwarf Novae and X-ray Transients is very limited. Observations during quiescence challenge some of the standard Disk Instability Model (DIM) predictions. Our ignorance of the nature of viscosity may be the main source of uncertainties in quiescent disk models. A ``layered accretion'' alternative to the DIM, in which accretion proceeds via X-ray ionized surface layers, illustrates the magnitude of these uncertainties. A detection of molecular hydrogen in quiescent disks may provide direct constraints on the nature of viscosity.
Advection-Dominated Accretion Onto Weakly-Magnetized White Dwarfs
Kristen Menou
Physics , 2000,
Abstract: The boundary layers of weakly-magnetized white dwarfs (WDs) accreting at rates <=10^16 g/s are radially extended, hot, optically-thin, and they advect some of their internally-dissipated energy (Narayan & Popham 1993). Motivated by this, I construct here idealized spectral models of an Advection-Dominated Accretion Flow (ADAF) around a WD, for application to quiescent Dwarf Novae (DN). The Bremsstrahlung cooling of the gas in the ADAF, with temperatures ranging from a few keV to a few tens of keV, can account for the X-ray emission properties of quiescent DN. If the energy advected by the flow is thermalized in the WD atmosphere, the resulting emission from the entire stellar surface (blackbody of temperature T_eff ~ 5 eV) outshines the X-ray luminosity substantially. This extreme-UV component provides a flux in the 0.055-0.28 keV band which is sufficient to power the strong HeII lambda4686 emission lines of quiescent DN by photoionization of the disk material. Reprocessing of the ADAF X-ray emission by a cold outer thin disk could also lead to an observable iron Kalpha fluorescence emission line, which can be used to probe the geometry of the accretion flow. Existing observational data indicate that the presence of ADAFs in quiescent DN is not ubiquitous, while future observations, in particular with the X-ray satellites Chandra and XMM-Newton, have the potential to detect signatures of the hot flow in promising candidates.
Viscosity Mechanisms in Accretion Disks
Kristen Menou
Physics , 2000, DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5473.2022
Abstract: The self-sustained turbulence which develops in magnetized accretion disks is suppressed in the weakly-ionized, quiescent disks of close binary stars. Because accretion still proceeds during quiescence, another viscosity mechanism operates in these systems. An anticorrelation of the recurrence times of SU UMa dwarf novae with their mass ratio supports spiral waves or shock-waves tidally induced by the companion star as the main process responsible for accretion in the quiescent disks. Other weakly-ionized gaseous disks in systems lacking a massive companion have to rely on yet another transport mechanism or they could be essentially passive.
Thermo-Resistive Instability of Hot Planetary Atmospheres
Kristen Menou
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/754/1/L9
Abstract: The atmospheres of hot Jupiters and other strongly-forced exoplanets are susceptible to a thermal instability in the presence of ohmic dissipation, weak magnetic drag and strong winds. The instability occurs in radiatively-dominated atmospheric regions when the ohmic dissipation rate increases with temperature faster than the radiative (cooling) rate. The instability domain covers a specific range of atmospheric pressures and temperatures, typically P ~ 3-300 mbar and T ~ 1500-2500K for hot Jupiters, which makes it a candidate mechanism to explain the dayside thermal "inversions" inferred for a number of such exoplanets. The instability is suppressed by high levels of non-thermal photoionization, in possible agreement with a recently established observational trend. We highlight several shortcomings of the instability treatment presented here. Understanding the emergence and outcome of the instability, which should result in locally hotter atmospheres with stronger levels of drag, will require global non-linear atmospheric models with adequate MHD prescriptions.
Black Hole Accretion in Transient X-Ray Binaries
Kristen Menou
Physics , 2001,
Abstract: Recent work on the modes of accretion onto black holes (BHs) in Soft X-Ray Transients (SXTs) is reviewed, with an emphasis on uncertainties affecting models of accretion during quiescence (inner hot flow, outer thin disk). Various interpretations of the quiescent X-ray luminosity difference between systems containing neutron stars (NSs) and systems containing BH candidates are also summarized. A new scenario, which does not require BH candidates to possess an event horizon, is presented here. This scenario may be ruled out in the future, from detailed X-ray spectroscopic diagnostics or from the absence of type I X-ray bursts in systems containing BH candidates.
Climate Stability of Habitable Earth-like Planets
Kristen Menou
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.07.046
Abstract: The carbon-silicate cycle regulates the atmospheric $CO_2$ content of terrestrial planets on geological timescales through a balance between the rates of $CO_2$ volcanic outgassing and planetary intake from rock weathering. It is thought to act as an efficient climatic thermostat on Earth and, by extension, on other habitable planets. If, however, the weathering rate increases with the atmospheric $CO_2$ content, as expected on planets lacking land vascular plants, the carbon-silicate cycle feedback can become severely limited. Here we show that Earth-like planets receiving less sunlight than current Earth may no longer possess a stable warm climate but instead repeatedly cycle between unstable glaciated and deglaciated climatic states. This has implications for the search for life on exoplanets in the habitable zone of nearby stars.
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