Astrophysics and Space Science

, Volume 210, Issue 1–2, pp 83–103 | Cite as

Accretion disk instabilities

  • S. Mineshige
I. Fundamental Theories


Basic properties of accretion disk instabilities are summarized. We first explain the standard disk model by Shakura and Sunyaev. In this model, the dominant sources of viscosity are assumed to be chaotic magnetic fields and turbulence in gas flow, and the magnitude of viscosity is prescribed by so-calledα model. It is then possible to build a particular disk model. In the framework of the standard model, accretion disks are stationary, but when some of the basic assumptions are relaxed, various kinds of instabilities appear. In particular, we focus on the thermal limit-cycle instability caused by partial ionization of hydrogen (and helium). We demonstrate that the disk instability model well accounts for the basic observed features of outbursts of dwarf novae and X-ray nova. We then introduce other kinds of instabilities based on theα viscosity model. They are suspected to produce time variabilities observed on a wide range of timescales in close binaries and active galactic nuclei.


Viscosity Helium Accretion Disk Active Galactic Nucleus Dominant Source 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Mineshige
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsIbaraki UniversityMitoJapan

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