A high-frequency doppler feature in the power spectra of simulated grmhd black hole accretion disks

Sarah Wellons, Yucong Zhu, Dimitrios Psaltis, Ramesh Narayan, Jeffrey E. McClintock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Black hole binaries exhibit a wide range of variability phenomena, from large-scale state changes to broadband noise and quasi-periodic oscillations, but the physical nature of much of this variability is poorly understood. We examine the variability properties of three GRMHD simulations of thin accretion disks around black holes of varying spin, producing light curves and power spectra as would be seen by observers. We find that the simulated power spectra show a broad feature at high frequency, which increases in amplitude with the inclination of the observer. We show that this high-frequency feature is a product of the Doppler effect and that its location is a function of the mass and spin of the black hole. This Doppler feature demonstrates that power spectral properties of the accretion disk can be tied to, and potentially used to determine, physical properties of the black hole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number142
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 20 2014



  • X-rays: binaries
  • accretion, accretion disks
  • black hole physics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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