Accretion disk evolution with wind infall. I. General solution and application to Sagittarius A

Heino Falcke, Fulvio Melia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The evolution of an accretion disk can be influenced significantly by the deposition of mass and angular momentum by an infalling Bondi-Hoyle wind. Such a mass influx impacts the long-term behavior of the disk by providing additional sources of viscosity and heating. In this paper, we derive and solve the disk equations when these effects are taken into account. We present a survey of models with various wind configurations and demonstrate that the disk spectrum may then differ substantially from that of a standard α-disk. In particular, it is likely that a wind-fed disk has a significant infrared bump due to the deposition of energy in its outer region. We apply some of the results of our calculations to the Galactic center black hole candidate Sagittarius A* and show that if a fossil disk is present in this source, it must have a very low viscosity parameter (α ≲ 10-4) and the Bondi-Hoyle wind must be accreting with a very high specific angular momentum to prevent it from circularizing in the inner disk region where its impact would be most noticeable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)740-751
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART I
StatePublished - 1997


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Black hole physics
  • Galaxy: center

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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