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Thread: Plasma in the accretion disc

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    Plasma in the accretion disc

    What is the composition of the plasma in the accretion disc? Does it include only Atoms (For example - Hydrogen) or also some other particles. If so, which kind of particles?
    What is the average temp of the plasma?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    What is the composition of the plasma in the accretion disc? Does it include only Atoms (For example - Hydrogen) or also some other particles.
    It is not only atoms, by definition of plasma.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    If so, which kind of particles?
    Mostly electrons and cations, besides atoms. A few anions and molecules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
    It is not only atoms, by definition of plasma.

    Mostly electrons and cations, besides atoms. A few anions and molecules.
    This might be the definition of "plasma", but the contents of an accretion disk will depend on the particular disk. Accretion disks around stellar mass black holes largely include highly ionized atoms.
    Forming opinions as we speak

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    What is the composition of the plasma in the accretion disc? Does it include only Atoms (For example - Hydrogen) or also some other particles. If so, which kind of particles?
    What is the average temp of the plasma?
    Dave - the info you need should be here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstellar_medium

    Gppd luck. Be careful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    What is the composition of the plasma in the accretion disc? Does it include only Atoms (For example - Hydrogen) or also some other particles. If so, which kind of particles?
    What is the average temp of the plasma?
    http://cds.cern.ch/record/376158/files/9901108.pdf gives a slightly dated but fairly thorough review of the basic models used to study accretion disks.

    The accretion disk temperature for non-critical systems is at most comparable to the core of the Sun, so the plasma is fairly standard. That is to say electrons and ionised atoms from the material than has fallen into it. It is not hot enough to produce exotic states of matter or much in the way of short lived particles. Some disks may reach 10^9K, which is hot but still only corresponds to an energy of 80keV or so. Which, for scale, is about the energy the first ever linear particle accelerator operated at in 1928

    Edit: Changed Ionised Nuclei to Ionised Atoms
    Last edited by Shaula; 2018-Jul-10 at 06:49 AM. Reason: Correction

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    Please look at the following article:


    "Evolution of the accretion disc around the suppermassive black hole of NGC 7213"

    https://academic.oup.com/mnras/artic...rectedFrom=PDF

    "This is the first time that the double-peaked line profile of this nucleus – typical of gas emission from the outer parts of an accretion disc surrounding a suppermassive black hole (SMBH) – is reported to vary. "

    So we see "gas emission from the outer parts of an accretion disc surrounding a suppermassive black hole (SMBH)"

    What is the composition of this gas?
    Is it mainly Atoms and molecules?
    Why they specifically speak about the outer part of the disc?
    Is there a difference in the composition of the plasma between the outer parts of the accretion disc to the inner most?
    Actually, as the SMBH is located at the center, why don't we call it accretion ring instead of disc?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    What is the composition of this gas?
    Mostly hydrogen, some other elements. As said before, it is derived from the material falling into it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    Is it mainly Atoms and molecules?
    Depends where you are in the disk. There is a gradient from partly unionised to mostly ionised as you go in. Hence the H-alpha line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    Why they specifically speak about the outer part of the disc?
    Because H-alpha is usually associated with hydrogen being ionised, at energies of the order of 12-14eV. This is found in the outer part of the disk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    Is there a difference in the composition of the plasma between the outer parts of the accretion disc to the inner most?
    The species in it become more dominated by ionised ones as you go in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    Actually, as the SMBH is located at the center, why don't we call it accretion ring instead of disc?
    Why do we call records and CDs disks?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    Actually, as the SMBH is located at the center, why don't we call it accretion ring instead of disc?
    You're just going to have to live with the fact that workers in the field develop their own terminology without consulting you, Dave. Repeatedly asking why scientists don't refer to something by the term you prefer is rather pointless and certainly a waste of time. Words and terms are invented all the time and are either accepted and gain currency, or are rejected and disappear. That's just the way it works. Scientists rejected Faraday's electrotonic but embraced anode and cathode (among others), for example. De gustibus and all that explains much.

    If you're interested in etymology, consult the Oxford English Dictionary. The OED's staff are dedicated to tracing the history of words.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    Actually, as the SMBH is located at the center, why don't we call it accretion ring instead of disc?
    Because typically it doesn't look like a ring, it looks like a disc. The diameter of the Schwarzschild radius of a black hole (especially a stellar-mass BH) is typically orders of magnitude smaller than the accretion disc of material that forms around it.

    I can't help but wonder though - if it had been called an Accretion Ring originally, would you now be demanding a response to why it was not called an Accretion Disc?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGN Fuel View Post
    Because typically it doesn't look like a ring, it looks like a disc. The diameter of the Schwarzschild radius of a black hole (especially a stellar-mass BH) is typically orders of magnitude smaller than the accretion disc of material that forms around it.

    I can't help but wonder though - if it had been called an Accretion Ring originally, would you now be demanding a response to why it was not called an Accretion Disc?
    I had the impression that the plasma width in the accretion disc is quite narrow.
    However, if the plasma starts almost from the diameter of the Schwarzschild radius of a black hole, and it's quite wide, than I can fully understand why we call it disc.

    So, the question had to be -
    What is the estimated ratio between the inwards radius to the outwards radius of the plasma in the accretion disc (in a typical spiral galaxy)?
    Last edited by Dave Lee; 2018-Jul-11 at 10:13 AM.

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    Thanks Shaula for your great explanations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    http://cds.cern.ch/record/376158/files/9901108.pdf gives a slightly dated but fairly thorough review of the basic models used to study accretion disks.

    The accretion disk temperature for non-critical systems is at most comparable to the core of the Sun, so the plasma is fairly standard. That is to say electrons and ionised atoms from the material than has fallen into it. It is not hot enough to produce exotic states of matter or much in the way of short lived particles. Some disks may reach 10^9K, which is hot but still only corresponds to an energy of 80keV or so. Which, for scale, is about the energy the first ever linear particle accelerator operated at in 1928

    Edit: Changed Ionised Nuclei to Ionised Atoms
    In this answer you compare the energy to the first accelerator operated at in 1928.
    This is very interesting.
    In the attached article (from CERN?), they discuss about the magnetic field in the accretion disc.

    "Recent simulations of MHD turbulence indicate that the magneto-rotational instability efficiently generates magnetic energy in the disk"
    If I understand it correctly, due to the high orbital velocity of the plasma, there is quite high magnetic energy."

    So, can we assume that the accertion disc has some accelerator' characteristics as follow?

    1. Very high orbital velocity - almost as high as the speed of light.
    2. High Temp - ("Some disks may reach 10^9K")
    3. magnetic energy - I assume that there is quite high magnetic energy in the accretion disc.


    We know that the plasma is full with Hydrogen Atoms (many of them are ionized)
    If so, based on the above caracteristics of the accretion disc, is there any possibility for two Hydrogen atoms to collide (during their ultra high orbital velocity) and set a new Helium atom?
    If no, what kind of power/force/energy is needed in accelerator to convert two Hydrogen Atoms (ionized or unionized) into one Helium atom?

    I have just found an interesting article about Plasma Power & Fusion Power

    http://www.physicscentral.com/explore/action/plasma.cfm

    "Fusion is difficult to sustain in the lab. Since hydrogen nuclei are charged particles, they experience a strong electrostatic repulsion, which increases rapidly as the nuclei approach each other. For fusion to occur, the nuclei must hit each other at high speed, which requires a temperature of 100 million degrees. At this temperature, any contact with the container would vaporize it, so the nuclei, which are part of a plasma, must be somehow confined."

    I assume that the 10^9K is above 100 million degrees.
    Last edited by Dave Lee; 2018-Jul-11 at 12:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    1. Very high orbital velocity - almost as high as the speed of light.
    Not throughout the disk though - the edges far from the centre rotate much more slowly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    2. High Temp - ("Some disks may reach 10^9K")
    Yes, but again only in the inner disk. The outer disk is much cooler (hence the comment about H-alpha before).

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    3. magnetic energy - I assume that there is quite high magnetic energy in the accretion disc.
    Yes, but the energy in magnetic fields is not the only thing about an accelerator. It is also very much dependent on the configuration. Accelerators work by confining a beam and accelerating it, the disk magnetic fields are much less ordered.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    We know that the plasma is full with Hydrogen Atoms (many of them are ionized)
    If so, based on the above caracteristics of the accretion disc, is there any possibility for two Hydrogen atoms to collide (during their ultra high orbital velocity) and set a new Helium atom?
    If no, what kind of power/force/energy is needed in accelerator to convert two Hydrogen Atoms (ionized or unionized) into one Helium atom?
    A hydrogen atom has one proton, no neutrons. The formation of helium from hydrogen in stars is a multi-stage process as a helium atom consists of 2 protons and 2 neutrons. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton...chain_reaction for details. So while there is some scope for fusion it is unlikely to be in significant amounts due to the relatively lack of material (accretion disks are not as dense as the core of the Sun) and the difficulty of the various steps in the pp cycle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    Not throughout the disk though - the edges far from the centre rotate much more slowly.
    Yes, but again only in the inner disk. The outer disk is much cooler (hence the comment about H-alpha before).
    Yes, but the energy in magnetic fields is not the only thing about an accelerator. It is also very much dependent on the configuration. Accelerators work by confining a beam and accelerating it, the disk magnetic fields are much less ordered.

    A hydrogen atom has one proton, no neutrons. The formation of helium from hydrogen in stars is a multi-stage process as a helium atom consists of 2 protons and 2 neutrons. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton...chain_reaction for details. So while there is some scope for fusion it is unlikely to be in significant amounts due to the relatively lack of material (accretion disks are not as dense as the core of the Sun) and the difficulty of the various steps in the pp cycle.

    So, there is a scope for fusion but it is unlikely to be in significant amounts.
    That is a very positive answer for me as I just want to understand the fesability for the Fusion process in the accertion disc.

    If we compare it to the Sun;

    In the following article it is stated that the Sun temp is only 10 10 ^ 6 C.

    http://fusioned.gat.com/images/pdf/Plasma_Tokamak.pdf

    "Fusion energy research uses very hot plasma. Controlled thermonuclear energy is the attempt to use plasma to get ions to a high enough energy to collide and fuse. When their nuclei fuse, a large amount of energy is released. We all know of the large energy release associated with hydrogen bombs, which fuse light atoms and thus the fusion process was created on earth and sought to be controlled. Scientists are studying ways to harness this energy release in a controlled and safe manner. These high-energy plasmas have very high temperatures that are greater than 300 10 ^6C. (The temperature of the sun is on the order of 10 10 ^ 6 C.) Magnetic fields contain the plasma (remember, an ionized gas is trapped by a magnetic field line), “holding” the plasma away from the vacuum chamber walls. Electromagnetic waves and ion beams are used to heat this plasma to high enough temperatures to get the ions to collide with enough energy that they will fuse. "

    So, based on Hydrogen to Helium Fusion energy at the Sun, its temp had been set to 10 10 ^ 6 C.
    Hence, technically, if there was a similar fusion activity at the inner side of the accretion disc, don't you think that it was expected to get a similar temp as it is at the Sun?
    However, the temp at the accretion disc is much higher than the Sun. (10^9K)
    How can we explain that supper high temp?
    If it isn't due to Hydrogen to helium fusion energy, what kind of activity/fusion can generate so high temp at the accretion disc - even for low amount? (Could it be higher level of atom -as Iron, or Molecular?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    So, based on Hydrogen to Helium Fusion energy at the Sun, its temp had been set to 10 10 ^ 6 C.
    Hence, technically, if there was a similar fusion activity at the inner side of the accretion disc, don't you think that it was expected to get a similar temp as it is at the Sun?
    However, the temp at the accretion disc is much higher than the Sun. (10^9K)
    How can we explain that supper high temp?
    If it isn't due to Hydrogen to helium fusion energy, what kind of activity/fusion can generate so high temp at the accretion disc - even for low amount? (Could it be higher level of atom -as Iron, or Molecular?)
    Accretion disks are not dense enough to sustain fusion at those temperatures. I'm not aware of anyone who thinks that accretion disks are fusion powered. The answer to the temperature question is in the review document I posted or on Wikipedia, if you want details. It is due to gravitational and frictional effects and our models of these effects (plus some MHD) are pretty good at explaining what we see (although, as ever, they are not perfect). Fusion of iron won't do it - in fact fusing iron takes energy, it doesn't release it. Only fusing the lightest few nuclei actually releases much energy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    Accretion disks are not dense enough to sustain fusion at those temperatures.
    Can you please explain why the plasma density in the accretion disc can't sustain fusion?

    I had the impression that the density is an outcome of a pressure.
    If I understand it correctly, the fusion activity is mainly taking place at the core of the Sun due to the pressure at the core.
    So, which pressure is stronger: The pressure at the accretion disc (almost at the diameter of the Schwarzschild radius of a SMBH) or at the Sun core?
    Last edited by Dave Lee; 2018-Jul-12 at 05:48 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    Can you please explain why the plasma density is critical to sustain fusion?

    I had the impression that the pressure is critical. Therefore, (If I understand it correctly), the fusion activity is mainly taking place at the core of the Sun.
    So, which pressure is stronger: The pressure at the accretion disc (almost at the diameter of the Schwarzschild radius of a SMBH) or at the Sun core?
    The important factors in the rate of fusion are the energy (temperature) of the particles (which allows them to overcome the electrostatic barrier to fusion) and the number of interactions (which is related to the number of particles, hence density), which makes it more likely you will get enough interactions to make the rare ones that lead to fusion common enough to make the whole chain viable.

    Note that the accretion disk doesn't really extend to the Schwarzschild radius - there is a last stable orbit at three or more times this value. Below that material is infalling.

    As for which system has the greater density - I am fairly sure it is the solar core but I am not going to lie and claim authority on this. I couldn't find a good source for that from a quick search, the closest I found was a Reddit where someone said they had plugged numbers into the standard ADAF and thin disk models and got densities at least a billion times less than the solar core. But I have not checked their maths. If you want to the equations you need are in the paper I provided or on Scholarpedia.

    The closest to fusion I could find as an accretion disk process was in the outflow from it. There a number of r-processes happen leading to nucleosynthesis, but this is just adding neutrons to elements, not pp cycle fusion.

    Also - I am not a plasma physics or black hole expert. This is based on my rather basic understanding of them. Happy if someone who knows more on this wants to chime in and correct me.

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    Thanks again for your excellent support!

    In order to set any sort of calculation/estimation we need to understand the outer and inner radius of the accretion disc.

    I hope that I can extract the inner radius from your following answer:

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    Note that the accretion disk doesn't really extend to the Schwarzschild radius - there is a last stable orbit at three or more times this value. Below that material is infalling.
    So, let's assume that the minimal inner radius is just above three times the Schwarzschild radius.

    Based on the following article:

    What is the Schwarzschild radius of the Milky Way Galaxy?
    https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-Sc...lky-Way-Galaxy

    "The Schwarzschild radius of the Milky Way is 0.31 Light year".

    Three times of this value means that:
    The minimal inner most radius of the accretion disc is about 1 Light year.
    Do you agree with that?
    If so, can you please estimate the Outer radius value in the accretion disc and the total plasma mass?
    Last edited by Dave Lee; 2018-Jul-12 at 12:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    ... "The Schwarzschild radius of the Milky Way is 0.31 Light year". ...
    The Milky Way is not a black hole, and does not have a Schwarzschild Radius. Raj was misleading. If there were a black hole with the mass of the entire Milky Way, that would be its SR.
    Forming opinions as we speak

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    Quote Originally Posted by antoniseb View Post
    The Milky Way is not a black hole, and does not have a Schwarzschild Radius. Raj was misleading.
    To be fair, he does say "would be" (ie. if it were a black hole).

    The same link does have a value for the radius of the black hole: "the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way has a mass of about 4 million solar masses, and thus a Schwarzschild radius of 12 million kilometers" (I haven't checked if it is correct or not)

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    Thanks Strange

    Yes, I have just noticed that it was written that:

    "the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way has a mass of about 4 million solar masses, and thus a Schwarzschild radius of 12 million kilometers. That is less than 10% of the Earth-Sun distance (150 million km)."

    If so, than the Inner radius should be:

    12 M x 3 = 36 million kilometers.

    Is it correct?
    Last edited by Dave Lee; 2018-Jul-12 at 02:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    A hydrogen atom has one proton, no neutrons.
    Thats protium.

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    I have found the following statement:

    https://physics.stackexchange.com/qu...rgy-production

    "Plasma is not something that plays a role in fusion as if it were a tool or an instrument for its achievement. It is instead the only possible medium where nuclear fusion can occur: very basically, high enough temperature for protons to overcome the Coulomb repulsion, and high enough density for increased chances of fusion reactions.

    So it is an intimate part of nuclear fusion, rather than an appendix or a component of it. All components of nuclear fusion rather revolve around the plasma: how to heat it, how to contain it, how to shape it, how to control it, etc."

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    Plasma To molecular cloud in the Milky way:

    http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog...that-glow.html

    "The two beams, or jets, were revealed by NASA's Fermi space telescope. They extend from the galactic center to a distance of 27,000 light-years above and below the galactic plane."

    "The jets were produced when plasma squirted out from the galactic center, following a corkscrew-like magnetic field that kept it tightly focused. The gamma-ray bubbles likely were created by a "wind" of hot matter blowing outward from the black hole's accretion disk. As a result, they are much broader than the narrow jets."

    "Finkbeiner estimates that a molecular cloud weighing about 10,000 times as much as the Sun would be required."
    "Shoving 10,000 suns into the black hole at once would do the trick. Black holes are messy eaters, so some of that material would spew out and power the jets,"


    It is stated: "The jets were produced when plasma squirted out from the galactic center", but in reality they see: "a "wind" of hot matter blowing outward from the black hole's accretion disk." However, they also claim that this hot matter had set a molecular cloud .

    Why the plasma which had been squirted out had been first converted into "Hot matter" blowing out and latter on set molecular cloud?
    How could it be that a plasma from the accretion disc can set molecular cloud without fusion activity?

    If I remember correctly, the total mass in the accretion disc is estimated as less than one sun mass.
    So, how could it set a steady stream of jet with estimated 10,000 total Sun mass?
    It is stated: "Shoving 10,000 suns into the black hole at once would do the trick", but how can we fit 10,000 sun mass in the accretion disc at once?
    Do we see any accretion disc with estimated mass of 10,000 sun mass "at once"?
    If I understand it correctly, in all of our observations we only see a stream of hot mass blowing away from the accretion disc.
    Did we find even one evidence for any sort of external mass which is moving in the accretion disc?
    How the accretion disc can blow out a steady stream of jet without getting in new mass constantly?
    What is the source for this constant mass in the accretion disc?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    Why the plasma which had been squirted out had been first converted into "Hot matter" blowing out and latter on set molecular cloud?
    It is a pop-sci article. Expect terminological inexactitude. See https://arxiv.org'pdf/1802.03890.pdf for a summary of thecurrent possible models for the creation of these structures. There are a few contenders, although the leptonic jet one seems strongest at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    How could it be that a plasma from the accretion disc can set molecular cloud without fusion activity?
    *The molecular cloud was what was hypothesised to have interacted with the accretion disk to fuel the AGN-like burst of activity. The Fermi bubbles are not molecular clouds. If that is what you are asking, I am not 100% sure I follow your question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    If I remember correctly, the total mass in the accretion disc is estimated as less than one sun mass.
    Do you have a reference for that? I couldn't find any numbers easily.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    So, how could it set a steady stream of jet with estimated 10,000 total Sun mass?
    Even if that were its mass - it didn't. Something that size is proposed to have fallen into the system, triggering the energetic events that created the bubbles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    It is stated: "Shoving 10,000 suns into the black hole at once would do the trick", but how can we fit 0,000 sun mass in the accretion disc at once?
    Pop-sci again. Imprecise language. The hypothesis is that an object of that mass fell in and the resultant interactions resulted in the Fermi bubbles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    Do we see any accretion disc with estimated mass of 10,000 sun mass "at once"?
    The only accretion disks that function in this mass range are SMBH ones. Given that we can only study one of them in detail it is not a shock to have to infer properties of others from more indirect observations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    If I understand it correctly, in all of our observations we only see a stream of hot mass blowing away fromtheaccretion disc.
    We see a range of effects. Winds, Jets, Outflows, Flares.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    Did we find even one evidence for any sort of external mass which is moving in the accretion disc?
    What do you mean by this? Do you mean do we see evidence for material being incorporated into an accretion disk? Yes, we do. We see gas tails from G1 and G2 consistent with gravitational disruption and matter being dragged off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    How the accretion disc can blow out a steady stream of jet without getting in new mass constantly?
    What exactly are you asking about? Jets? Winds? The accretion disk is getting new material, but the one in SagA is not getting much which is partly why the centre is pretty quiescent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    What is the source for this constant mass in the accretion disc?
    It isn't constant mass, it varies depending on what has interacted with it and what material has been added to it. There is plenty of material in the galactic centre.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    What do you mean by this? Do you mean do we see evidence for material being incorporated into an accretion disk? Yes, we do. We see gas tails from G1 and G2 consistent with gravitational disruption and matter being dragged off.
    Please be aware that I only focus on the core of spiral galaxy.
    Are G1 and G2 accretions in the core of Spiral galaxies?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    Please be aware that I only focus on the core of spiral galaxy.
    Are G1 and G2 accretions in the core of Spiral galaxies?
    G1 and G2 are gas clouds in the core of our galaxy.

    You discussed G2 in one of your other threads: https://forum.cosmoquest.org/showthr...06#post2452506

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    G1 and G2 are gas clouds in the core of our galaxy.

    You discussed G2 in one of your other threads: https://forum.cosmoquest.org/showthr...06#post2452506
    Thanks

    We only focus on the accretion disc of the SMBH in the center of spiral galaxy.
    If those gas clouds are drifting into the accretion disc of the Milky Way, than it is relevant.
    However, the activity inside a gas cloud, (even if it is located very close to the SMBH) isn't relevant to our discussion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lee View Post
    If those gas clouds are drifting into the accretion disc of the Milky Way, than it is relevant.
    However, the activity inside a gas cloud, (even if it is located very close to the SMBH) isn't relevant to our discussion.
    Large streamers of gas being stripped off nearby gas clouds and pulled towards the accretion disk are, however, relevant.

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