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MHD turbulence and state changes in compact X-ray sources

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Simon Hodgkin.


There is evidence that the saturation levels of MHD turbulence are sensitive to the ratio of the small scale viscosity to resistivity, a quantity known as the magnetic Prandtl number Pm. This sensitivity is present when Pm ~ 1.

Interestingly, discs associated with compact X-ray sources have such a low-to-high (tracking inward) Pm transition radius on scales of tens of Schwarzschild radii. These disc sources are also known for their dramatic changes in their spectral states.

In this talk, I will show that standard alpha disc theory predicts Dwarf-Nova like outbursts when the turbulent stress is even a modestly increasing function of Pm. Implications for understanding the X-ray data will be presented, both successes of the theory and remaining challenges.

This talk is part of the Institute of Astronomy Colloquia series.

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