Kouichi Hirotani, Hung Yi Pu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Supermassive black holes (BHs) are believed to be the central powerhouse of active galactic nuclei. Applying the pulsar outer-magnetospheric particle accelerator theory to BH magnetospheres, we demonstrate that an electric field is exerted along the magnetic field lines near the event horizon of a rotating BH. In this particle accelerator (or a gap), electrons and positrons are created by photon-photon collisions and accelerated in the opposite directions by this electric field, efficiently emitting gamma-rays via curvature and inverse-Compton processes. It is shown that a gap arises around the null-charge surface formed by the frame-dragging effect, provided that there is no current injection across the gap boundaries. The gap is dissipating a part of the hole's rotational energy, and the resultant gamma-ray luminosity increases with decreasing plasma accretion from the surroundings. Considering an extremely rotating supermassive BH, we show that such a gap reproduces the significant very-high-energy (VHE) gamma-ray flux observed from the radio galaxy IC 310, provided that the accretion rate becomes much less than the Eddington rate particularly during its flare phase. It is found that the curvature process dominates the inverse-Compton process in the magnetosphere of IC 310, and that the observed power-law-like spectrum in VHE gamma-rays can be explained to some extent by a superposition of the curvature emissions with varying curvature radius. It is predicted that the VHE spectrum extends into higher energies with increasing VHE photon flux.

Original languageEnglish
Article number50
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 10
Externally publishedYes


  • black hole physics
  • galaxies: individual (IC 310)
  • gamma-rays: stars
  • magnetic fields
  • methods: analytical
  • methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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