I review recent progress in the dynamics and the evolution of selfgravitating accretion discs. Accretion discs are a fundamental component of several astrophysical systems on very diverse systems, and can be found in external galaxies around supermassive black holes in Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), and also in our Galaxy around stellar mass compact objects and around young stars. Notwithstanding the specific differences arising from such diversity in physical extent, all these systems share a common feature where a central object is fed from the accretion disc, due to the effect of turbulence and disc instabilities, which are able to remove the angular momentum from the gas and allow its accretion. In recent years, it has become increasingly apparent that the gravitational field produced by the disc itself (the disc’s self-gravity) is an important ingredient in the models, especially in the context of protostellar discs and of AGN discs. Indeed, it appears that in many cases (and especially in the colder outer parts of the disc) the development of gravitational instabilities can be one of the main agents in the redistribution of angular momentum. In some cases, the instability can be strong enough to lead to the formation of gravitationally bound clumps within the disc, and thus to determine the disc fragmentation. As a result, progress in our understanding of the dynamics of self-gravitating discs is essential to identify the processes that lead to the feeding of both young stars and of supermassive black holes in AGN. At the same time, understanding the fragmentation conditions is important to determine under which conditions AGN discs would fragment and form stars and whether, through disc fragmentation, protostellar discs might form giant gaseous planets.
|Titolo:||Self-gravitating accretion discs|
LODATO, GIUSEPPE (Primo)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2007|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1393/ncr/i2007-10022-x|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|