Investigating Warped Accretion Disks Using X-Ray Polarization

Quin Abarr, Department of Physics, Washington University
April 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm
204 Crow
Event Description 

Accretion disks of all sizes appear in astrophysics, from protoplanetary disks which form stars to active galactic nuclei which are home to supermassive black holes millions of times more massive than our Sun. Accretion disks are often assumed to be aligned with the rotation of the central object, though this is not necessarily true: as many as half of stellar mass supernova remnants might have accretion disks misaligned with their spin axis. Due to general relativistic frame dragging, the inner part of an accretion disk can be dragged into alignment with the compact object while the outer part remains misaligned. I am working on determining how the polarization of x-rays can tell us information about these warped disks, which can in turn help us learn more about accretion, black holes, and general relativity.