An Astrophysical Apparition: The Papaloizou-Pringle Patronus

The following important result was part of this recent arXiv posting.

While in graduate school at Berkeley, I was working on modifying the ZEUS-MP2 code to include an $\alpha$-viscosity treatment in preparation for work evolving white dwarf merger remnants.

I ran many test problems that followed the evolution of the equilibrium torus solutions considered by Papaloizou and Pringle (1984). During one such experiment, my analysis scripts produced the following contour plot of density. The image has been manipulated only by rotation (such that the equatorial plane is now vertical) and cropping (to focus attention on the relevant feature).

This figure shows the appearance of a powerful and mysterious otter, who is perhaps blowing the fiery bubble that will give rise to our universe. Future work should explore whether spectral methods are more likely to produce such illuminating results.