Stability analysis of the accretion line

Noam Soker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The stability of the flow along the accretion line in the Bondi-Hoyle-Lyttleton-type accretion flow is studied. The WKB approximation is used to analyze short wavelength linear perturbations of the axisymmetric steady state flow. The viscosity terms in the gasdynamical equations are included in the analysis. The radial modes are studied both in two- and three-dimensional accretion flow. Since a displaced accretion line cannot be defined in three-dimensional flow, the tangential modes are only analyzed in the two-dimensional flow. The analysis of the perturbed gasdynamical equations are made simpler as a result of the radial and tangential modes being decoupled in the linear regime. As was shown before, the three-dimensional accretion flow is unstable against radial modes. The two-dimensional accretion flow is found to be unstable against tangential modes, as well as against radial modes. Using typical numerical parameters which are in commmon use, the wavelength which gives the maximum growth rate of a small perturbation is found to be ∼0.5ra, where ra is the accretion radius.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-550
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Aug 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydrodynamics
  • Stars: accretion
  • Stars: binaries


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