Multi-scale Modeling of Accretion and Jets in Active Galactic Nuclei

Project: Research project

Project Details


Active galactic nuclei (AGN) jets have been extensively observed with NSF-funded multi-wavelength facilities for several decades. The recent detection by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory of a very high energy neutrino event coincident with multi-wavelength flaring of blazar TXS 0506+056 strongly suggests that blazars do not only produce high-energy photons but also ultra-high-energy cosmic rays and neutrinos. This exciting multi-messenger discovery motivates a detailed study of relativistic jet physics, to interpret this and upcoming multi-messenger observations of AGN. Continued investment of the NSF into high-energy neutrino, photon, and cosmic ray observatories is a testament to NSF's persistent interest in revealing the physics behind these intriguing high-energy phenomena, in anticipation of more discoveries to come.

Intellectual Merit
AGN jets are launched very close to the central black hole. Highly collimated, they propagate through the ambient medium. During this process, jets can dissipate their magnetic energy into non-thermal particles which then emit powerful multi-wavelength electromagnetic radiation and neutrinos. Meaningful interpretation of multi-messenger jet observations requires multi-scale modeling that self-consistently includes a wide range of physical processes acting on vastly different physical scales. However, due to the complexity of the problem, so far theoretical works of relativistic jets have studied separately the accretion physics and jet propagation. Highly idealized treatments of such tightly coupled physical processes limit the predictive power of the models. We propose to perform multi-scale jet simulations that connect accretion physics, fluid dynamics, jet launching, propagation, and interaction with the ambient medium.

Broader Impacts
We plan to organize day-long workshops in the schools, where the students will be exposed to the background information of our research. This effort will involve the PI as well graduate and undergraduate students.
Effective start/end date9/1/208/31/21


  • National Science Foundation (OAC-2031997)

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