Transient jet formation and state transitions from large-scale magnetic reconnection in black hole accretion discs

Jason Dexter*, Jonathan C. McKinney, Sera Markoff, Alexander Tchekhovskoy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


Magnetically arrested accretion discs (MADs), where the magnetic pressure in the inner disc is dynamically important, provide an alternative mechanism for regulating accretion to what is commonly assumed in black hole systems.We showthat a global magnetic field inversion in the MAD state can destroy the jet, significantly increase the accretion rate, and move the effective inner disc edge in to the marginally stable orbit. Reconnection of the MAD field in the inner radii launches a new type of transient outflow containing hot plasma generated by magnetic dissipation. This transient outflow can be as powerful as the steady magnetically dominated Blandford-Znajek jet in the MAD state. The field inversion qualitatively describes many of the observational features associated with the high-luminosity hard-to-soft state transition in black hole X-ray binaries: the jet line, the transient ballistic jet, and the drop in rms variability. These results demonstrate that the magnetic field configuration can influence the accretion state directly, and hence the magnetic field structure is an important second parameter in explaining observations of accreting black holes across the mass and luminosity scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2185-2190
Number of pages6
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Accretion, accretion discs
  • Black hole physics
  • Galaxies: jets
  • X-rays: binaries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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