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Viscosity Mechanisms in Accretion Disks

Science  16 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5473, pp. 2022-2024
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5473.2022

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Abstract

The self-sustained turbulence that develops in magnetized accretion disks is suppressed in the weakly ionized, quiescent disks of close binary stars. Because accretion still proceeds during quiescence, another viscosity mechanism operates in these systems. An anticorrelation of the recurrence times of SU UMa dwarf novae with their mass ratio supports spiral waves or shockwaves tidally induced by the companion star as the main process responsible for accretion in the quiescent disks. Other weakly ionized gaseous disks in systems lacking a massive companion must rely on yet another transport mechanism, or they could be essentially passive.

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