He Sun, Katherine L. Bouman, Paul Tiede, Jason J. Wang, Sarah Blunt, and Dimitri Mawet. Submitted. “alpha-Deep Probabilistic Inference (alpha-DPI): efficient uncertainty quantification from exoplanet astrometry to black hole feature extraction ”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Inference is crucial in modern astronomical research, where hidden astrophysical features and patterns are often estimated from indirect and noisy measurements. Inferring the posterior of hidden features, conditioned on the observed measurements, is essential for understanding the uncertainty of results and downstream scientific interpretations. Traditional approaches for posterior estimation include sampling-based methods and variational inference. However, sampling-based methods are typically slow for high-dimensional inverse problems, while variational inference often lacks estimation accuracy. In this paper, we propose alpha-DPI, a deep learning framework that first learns an approximate posterior using alpha-divergence variational inference paired with a generative neural network, and then produces more accurate posterior samples through importance re-weighting of the network samples. It inherits strengths from both sampling and variational inference methods: it is fast, accurate, and scalable to high-dimensional problems. We apply our approach to two high-impact astronomical inference problems using real data: exoplanet astrometry and black hole feature extraction.

Feng-Li Lin, Avani Patel, and Hung-Yi Pu. Submitted. “Black Hole Shadow with Soft Hair”. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Light bending by the strong gravity around the black hole will form the so-called black hole shadow, the shape of which can shed light on the structure of the near-horizon geometry to possibly reveal novel physics of strong gravity and black hole. In this work, we adopt both analytical and ray-tracing methods to study the black hole shadow in the presence of the infrared structure of gravity theory, which manifests the asymptotic symmetries of spacetime as the supertranslation soft hairs of the black hole. Though the black hole metrics with and without the soft hair are related by large gauge transformations, the near horizon geometries relevant for the shape of the shadow are quite different. Moreover, the Hamiltonian for the geodesic seems intrinsically different, i.e., the loss of separability due to the breaking of spherical symmetry by soft hair. By applying ray-tracing computations, we find that the soft hair, although not affecting the shape of the shadow, may change the average size and position of the shadow. Images resulting from soft hair black holes with surrounding accretion flows are also discussed.
Angelo Ricarte, Charles Gammie, Ramesh Narayan, and Ben S. Prather. Submitted. “Probing Plasma Physics with Spectral Index Maps of Accreting Black Holes on Event Horizon Scales .” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration has produced the first resolved images of M87*, the supermassive black hole at the centre of the elliptical galaxy M87. As both technology and analysis pipelines improve, it will soon become possible to produce spectral index maps of black hole accretion flows on event horizon scales. In this work, we predict spectral index maps of both M87* and Sgr A* by applying the general relativistic radiative transfer (GRRT) code {\sc ipole} to a suite of general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) simulations. We analytically explore how the spectral index increases with increasing magnetic field strength, electron temperature, and optical depth. Consequently, spectral index maps grow more negative with increasing radius in almost all models, since all of these quantities tend to be maximized near the event horizon. Additionally, photon ring geodesics exhibit more positive spectral indices, since they sample the innermost regions of the accretion flow with the most extreme plasma conditions. Spectral index maps are sensitive to highly uncertain plasma heating prescriptions (the electron temperature and distribution function). However, if our understanding of these aspects of plasma physics can be tightened, even the spatially unresolved spectral index around 230 GHz can be used to discriminate between models. In particular, Standard and Normal Evolution (SANE) flows tend to exhibit more negative spectral indices than Magnetically Arrested Disk (MAD) flows due to differences in the characteristic magnetic field strength and temperature of emitting plasma.

Jesse Daas, Kolja Kuijpers, Frank Saueressig, Michael F. Wondrak, and Heino Falcke. Submitted. “Probing Quadratic Gravity with the Event Horizon Telescope ”. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Quadratic gravity constitutes a prototypical example of a perturbatively renormalizable quantum theory of the gravitational interactions. In this work, we construct the associated phase space of static, spherically symmetric, and asymptotically flat spacetimes. It is found that the Schwarzschild geometry is embedded in a rich solution space comprising horizonless, naked singularities and wormhole solutions. Characteristically, the deformed solutions follow the Schwarzschild solution up outside of the photon sphere while they differ substantially close to the center of gravity. We then carry out an analytic analysis of observable signatures accessible to the Event Horizon Telescope, comprising the size of the black hole shadow as well as the radiation emitted by infalling matter. On this basis, we argue that it is the brightness within the shadow region which constrains the phase space of solutions. Our work constitutes the first step towards bounding the phase space of black hole type solutions with a clear quantum gravity interpretation based on observational data.
Joshua Yao-Yu Lin, Dominic W. Pesce, George N. Wong, Ajay Uppili Arasanipalai, Ben S. Prather, and Charles F. Gammie. Submitted. “VLBInet: Radio Interferometry Data Classification for EHT with Neural Networks ”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) recently released the first horizon-scale images of the black hole in M87. Combined with other astronomical data, these images constrain the mass and spin of the hole as well as the accretion rate and magnetic flux trapped on the hole. An important question for the EHT is how well key parameters, such as trapped magnetic flux and the associated disk models, can be extracted from present and future EHT VLBI data products. The process of modeling visibilities and analyzing them is complicated by the fact that the data are sparsely sampled in the Fourier domain while most of the theory/simulation is constructed in the image domain. Here we propose a data-driven approach to analyze complex visibilities and closure quantities for radio interferometric data with neural networks. Using mock interferometric data, we show that our neural networks are able to infer the accretion state as either high magnetic flux (MAD) or low magnetic flux (SANE), suggesting that it is possible to perform parameter extraction directly in the visibility domain without image reconstruction. We have applied VLBInet to real M87 EHT data taken on four different days in 2017 (April 5, 6, 10, 11), and our neural networks give a score prediction 0.52, 0.4, 0.43, 0.76 for each day, with an average score 0.53, which shows no significant indication for the data to lean toward either the MAD or SANE state.

D. Psaltis et al. Submitted. “A Model for Anisotropic Interstellar Scattering and its Application to Sgr A*.” ApJ.
S. Issaoun et al. Submitted. “Persistent Non-Gaussian Structure in the Image of Sagittarius A* at 86 GHz.” ApJ.
Joseph Farah, Peter Galison, Kazunori Akiyama, Katherine L. Bouman, Geoffrey C. Bower, Andrew Chael, Antonio Fuentes, José L. Gómez, Mareki Honma, Michael D. Johnson, Yutaro Kofuji, Daniel P. Marrone, Kotaro Moriyama, Ramesh Narayan, Dominic W. Pesce, Paul Tiede, Maciek Wielgus, Guang-Yao Zhao, and The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. 10/22/2022. “Selective Dynamical Imaging of Interferometric Data.” The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 930, L18, Pp. 1-21. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Recent developments in very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) have made it possible for the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) to resolve the innermost accretion flows of the largest supermassive black holes on the sky. The sparse nature of the EHT's (u, v)-coverage presents a challenge when attempting to resolve highly time-variable sources. We demonstrate that the changing (u, v)-coverage of the EHT can contain regions of time over the course of a single observation that facilitate dynamical imaging. These optimal time regions typically have projected baseline distributions that are approximately angularly isotropic and radially homogeneous. We derive a metric of coverage quality based on baseline isotropy and density that is capable of ranking array configurations by their ability to produce accurate dynamical reconstructions. We compare this metric to existing metrics in the literature and investigate their utility by performing dynamical reconstructions on synthetic data from simulated EHT observations of sources with simple orbital variability. We then use these results to make recommendations for imaging the 2017 EHT Sgr A* data set.
Avery E. Broderick, Roman Gold, Boris Georgiev, Dominic W. Pesce, Paul Tiede, Chunchong Ni, Kotaro Moriyama, and The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. 5/12/2022. “Characterizing and Mitigating Intraday Variability: Reconstructing Source Structure in Accreting Black Holes with mm-VLBI.” The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 930, L21, Pp. 1-30. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The extraordinary physical resolution afforded by the Event Horizon Telescope has opened a window onto the astrophysical phenomena unfolding on horizon scales in two known black holes, M87* and Sgr A*. However, with this leap in resolution has come a new set of practical complications. Sgr A* exhibits intraday variability that violates the assumptions underlying Earth aperture synthesis, limiting traditional image reconstruction methods to short timescales and data sets with very sparse (u, v) coverage. We present a new set of tools to detect and mitigate this variability. We develop a data-driven, model-agnostic procedure to detect and characterize the spatial structure of intraday variability. This method is calibrated against a large set of mock data sets, producing an empirical estimator of the spatial power spectrum of the brightness fluctuations. We present a novel Bayesian noise modeling algorithm that simultaneously reconstructs an average image and statistical measure of the fluctuations about it using a parameterized form for the excess variance in the complex visibilities not otherwise explained by the statistical errors. These methods are validated using a variety of simulated data, including general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations appropriate for Sgr A* and M87*. We find that the reconstructed source structure and variability are robust to changes in the underlying image model. We apply these methods to the 2017 EHT observations of M87*, finding evidence for variability across the EHT observing campaign. The variability mitigation strategies presented are widely applicable to very long baseline interferometry observations of variable sources generally, for which they provide a data-informed averaging procedure and natural characterization of inter-epoch image consistency.
The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. 5/12/2022. “First Sagittarius A* Event Horizon Telescope Results. I. The Shadow of the Supermassive Black Hole in the Center of the Milky Way.” The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 930, L12. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We present the first Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observations of Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the Galactic center source associated with a supermassive black hole. These observations were conducted in 2017 using a global interferometric array of eight telescopes operating at a wavelength of λ = 1.3 mm. The EHT data resolve a compact emission region with intrahour variability. A variety of imaging and modeling analyses all support an image that is dominated by a bright, thick ring with a diameter of 51.8 ± 2.3 μas (68% credible interval). The ring has modest azimuthal brightness asymmetry and a comparatively dim interior. Using a large suite of numerical simulations, we demonstrate that the EHT images of Sgr A* are consistent with the expected appearance of a Kerr black hole with mass ~4 × 106 M, which is inferred to exist at this location based on previous infrared observations of individual stellar orbits, as well as maser proper-motion studies. Our model comparisons disfavor scenarios where the black hole is viewed at high inclination (i > 50°), as well as nonspinning black holes and those with retrograde accretion disks. Our results provide direct evidence for the presence of a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, and for the first time we connect the predictions from dynamical measurements of stellar orbits on scales of 103-105 gravitational radii to event-horizon-scale images and variability. Furthermore, a comparison with the EHT results for the supermassive black hole M87* shows consistency with the predictions of general relativity spanning over three orders of magnitude in central mass.

The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. 5/12/2022. “First Sagittarius A* Event Horizon Telescope Results. II. EHT and Multiwavelength Observations, Data Processing, and Calibration .” The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 930, L13. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We present Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) 1.3 mm measurements of the radio source located at the position of the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), collected during the 2017 April 5-11 campaign. The observations were carried out with eight facilities at six locations across the globe. Novel calibration methods are employed to account for Sgr A*'s flux variability. The majority of the 1.3 mm emission arises from horizon scales, where intrinsic structural source variability is detected on timescales of minutes to hours. The effects of interstellar scattering on the image and its variability are found to be subdominant to intrinsic source structure. The calibrated visibility amplitudes, particularly the locations of the visibility minima, are broadly consistent with a blurred ring with a diameter of ~50 μas, as determined in later works in this series. Contemporaneous multiwavelength monitoring of Sgr A* was performed at 22, 43, and 86 GHz and at near-infrared and X-ray wavelengths. Several X-ray flares from Sgr A* are detected by Chandra, one at low significance jointly with Swift on 2017 April 7 and the other at higher significance jointly with NuSTAR on 2017 April 11. The brighter April 11 flare is not observed simultaneously by the EHT but is followed by a significant increase in millimeter flux variability immediately after the X-ray outburst, indicating a likely connection in the emission physics near the event horizon. We compare Sgr A*'s broadband flux during the EHT campaign to its historical spectral energy distribution and find that both the quiescent emission and flare emission are consistent with its long-term behavior.

The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. 5/12/2022. “First Sagittarius A* Event Horizon Telescope Results. III. Imaging of the Galactic Center Supermassive Black Hole .” The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 930, L14. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We present the first event-horizon-scale images and spatiotemporal analysis of Sgr A* taken with the Event Horizon Telescope in 2017 April at a wavelength of 1.3 mm. Imaging of Sgr A* has been conducted through surveys over a wide range of imaging assumptions using the classical CLEAN algorithm, regularized maximum likelihood methods, and a Bayesian posterior sampling method. Different prescriptions have been used to account for scattering effects by the interstellar medium toward the Galactic center. Mitigation of the rapid intraday variability that characterizes Sgr A* has been carried out through the addition of a "variability noise budget" in the observed visibilities, facilitating the reconstruction of static full-track images. Our static reconstructions of Sgr A* can be clustered into four representative morphologies that correspond to ring images with three different azimuthal brightness distributions and a small cluster that contains diverse nonring morphologies. Based on our extensive analysis of the effects of sparse (u, v)-coverage, source variability, and interstellar scattering, as well as studies of simulated visibility data, we conclude that the Event Horizon Telescope Sgr A* data show compelling evidence for an image that is dominated by a bright ring of emission with a ring diameter of ~50 μas, consistent with the expected "shadow" of a 4 × 106 M black hole in the Galactic center located at a distance of 8 kpc.

The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. 5/12/2022. “First Sagittarius A* Event Horizon Telescope Results. IV. Variability, Morphology, and Black Hole Mass.” The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 930, L15. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In this paper we quantify the temporal variability and image morphology of the horizon-scale emission from Sgr A*, as observed by the EHT in 2017 April at a wavelength of 1.3 mm. We find that the Sgr A* data exhibit variability that exceeds what can be explained by the uncertainties in the data or by the effects of interstellar scattering. The magnitude of this variability can be a substantial fraction of the correlated flux density, reaching ~100% on some baselines. Through an exploration of simple geometric source models, we demonstrate that ring-like morphologies provide better fits to the Sgr A* data than do other morphologies with comparable complexity. We develop two strategies for fitting static geometric ring models to the time-variable Sgr A* data; one strategy fits models to short segments of data over which the source is static and averages these independent fits, while the other fits models to the full data set using a parametric model for the structural variability power spectrum around the average source structure. Both geometric modeling and image-domain feature extraction techniques determine the ring diameter to be 51.8 ± 2.3 μas (68% credible intervals), with the ring thickness constrained to have an FWHM between ~30% and 50% of the ring diameter. To bring the diameter measurements to a common physical scale, we calibrate them using synthetic data generated from GRMHD simulations. This calibration constrains the angular size of the gravitational radius to be ${4.8}_{-0.7}^{+1.4}$ μas, which we combine with an independent distance measurement from maser parallaxes to determine the mass of Sgr A* to be ${4.0}_{-0.6}^{+1.1}\times {10}^{6}$ M ⊙.

The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. 5/12/2022. “First Sagittarius A* Event Horizon Telescope Results. V. Testing Astrophysical Models of the Galactic Center Black Hole.” The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 930, L16. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In this paper we provide a first physical interpretation for the Event Horizon Telescope's (EHT) 2017 observations of Sgr A*. Our main approach is to compare resolved EHT data at 230 GHz and unresolved non-EHT observations from radio to X-ray wavelengths to predictions from a library of models based on time-dependent general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics simulations, including aligned, tilted, and stellar-wind-fed simulations; radiative transfer is performed assuming both thermal and nonthermal electron distribution functions. We test the models against 11 constraints drawn from EHT 230 GHz data and observations at 86 GHz, 2.2 μm, and in the X-ray. All models fail at least one constraint. Light-curve variability provides a particularly severe constraint, failing nearly all strongly magnetized (magnetically arrested disk (MAD)) models and a large fraction of weakly magnetized models. A number of models fail only the variability constraints. We identify a promising cluster of these models, which are MAD and have inclination i ≤ 30°. They have accretion rate (5.2-9.5) × 10-9 M ⊙ yr-1, bolometric luminosity (6.8-9.2) × 1035 erg s-1, and outflow power (1.3-4.8) × 1038 erg s-1. We also find that all models with i ≥ 70° fail at least two constraints, as do all models with equal ion and electron temperature; exploratory, nonthermal model sets tend to have higher 2.2 μm flux density; and the population of cold electrons is limited by X-ray constraints due to the risk of bremsstrahlung overproduction. Finally, we discuss physical and numerical limitations of the models, highlighting the possible importance of kinetic effects and duration of the simulations.

The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. 5/12/2022. “First Sagittarius A* Event Horizon Telescope Results. VI. Testing the Black Hole Metric .” The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 930, L17. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Astrophysical black holes are expected to be described by the Kerr metric. This is the only stationary, vacuum, axisymmetric metric, without electromagnetic charge, that satisfies Einstein's equations and does not have pathologies outside of the event horizon. We present new constraints on potential deviations from the Kerr prediction based on 2017 EHT observations of Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*). We calibrate the relationship between the geometrically defined black hole shadow and the observed size of the ring-like images using a library that includes both Kerr and non-Kerr simulations. We use the exquisite prior constraints on the mass-to-distance ratio for Sgr A* to show that the observed image size is within ~10% of the Kerr predictions. We use these bounds to constrain metrics that are parametrically different from Kerr, as well as the charges of several known spacetimes. To consider alternatives to the presence of an event horizon, we explore the possibility that Sgr A* is a compact object with a surface that either absorbs and thermally reemits incident radiation or partially reflects it. Using the observed image size and the broadband spectrum of Sgr A*, we conclude that a thermal surface can be ruled out and a fully reflective one is unlikely. We compare our results to the broader landscape of gravitational tests. Together with the bounds found for stellar-mass black holes and the M87 black hole, our observations provide further support that the external spacetimes of all black holes are described by the Kerr metric, independent of their mass.

Maciek Wielgus, Nicola Marchili, Iván Martí-Vidal, Garrett K. Keating, Venkatessh Ramakrishnan, Paul Tiede, Sara Issaoun, Joey Neilsen, Michael A. Nowak, Lindy Blackburn, Ciriaco Goddi, Daryl Haggard, Daeyoung Lee, Monika Moscibrodzka, Alexandra J. Tetarenko, Geoffrey C. Bower, Chi-Kwan Chan, Koushik Chatterjee, Paul M. Chesler, Jason Dexter, Sheperd S. Doeleman, Boris Georgiev, Mark Gurwell, Michael D. Johnson, Daniel P. Marrone, Alejandro Mus, Dimitrios Psaltis, Gunther Witzel, and The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. 5/12/2022. “Millimeter Light Curves of Sagittarius A* Observed during the 2017 Event Horizon Telescope Campaign.” The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 930, L19, Pp. 1-32. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observed the compact radio source, Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), in the Galactic Center on 2017 April 5-11 in the 1.3 mm wavelength band. At the same time, interferometric array data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array and the Submillimeter Array were collected, providing Sgr A* light curves simultaneous with the EHT observations. These data sets, complementing the EHT very long baseline interferometry, are characterized by a cadence and signal-to-noise ratio previously unattainable for Sgr A* at millimeter wavelengths, and they allow for the investigation of source variability on timescales as short as a minute. While most of the light curves correspond to a low variability state of Sgr A*, the April 11 observations follow an X-ray flare and exhibit strongly enhanced variability. All of the light curves are consistent with a red-noise process, with a power spectral density (PSD) slope measured to be between -2 and -3 on timescales between 1 minute and several hours. Our results indicate a steepening of the PSD slope for timescales shorter than 0.3 hr. The spectral energy distribution is flat at 220 GHz, and there are no time lags between the 213 and 229 GHz frequency bands, suggesting low optical depth for the event horizon scale source. We characterize Sgr A*'s variability, highlighting the different behavior observed just after the X-ray flare, and use Gaussian process modeling to extract a decorrelation timescale and a PSD slope. We also investigate the systematic calibration uncertainties by analyzing data from independent data reduction pipelines.

Boris Georgiev, Dominic W. Pesce, Avery E. Broderick, Vedant Dhruv, Charles F. Gammie, Chi-Kwan Chan, Koushik Chatterjee, Razieh Emami, Yosuke Mizuno, Roman Gold, Christian M. Fromm, Angelo Ricarte, Doosoo Yoon, Abhishek V. Joshi, Ben Prather, Alejandro Cruz-Osorio, Michael D. Johnson, Oliver Porth, Héctor Olivares, Ziri Younsi, Luciano Rezzolla, Jesse Vos, Richard Qiu, Antonios Nathanail, Ramesh Narayan, Andrew Chael, Richard Anantua, Monika Moscibrodzka, and The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. 5/12/2022. “A Universal Power-law Prescription for Variability from Synthetic Images of Black Hole Accretion Flows .” The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 930, L20, Pp. 1-32. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We present a framework for characterizing the spatiotemporal power spectrum of the variability expected from the horizon-scale emission structure around supermassive black holes, and we apply this framework to a library of general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) simulations and associated general relativistic ray-traced images relevant for Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observations of Sgr A*. We find that the variability power spectrum is generically a red-noise process in both the temporal and spatial dimensions, with the peak in power occurring on the longest timescales and largest spatial scales. When both the time-averaged source structure and the spatially integrated light-curve variability are removed, the residual power spectrum exhibits a universal broken power-law behavior. On small spatial frequencies, the residual power spectrum rises as the square of the spatial frequency and is proportional to the variance in the centroid of emission. Beyond some peak in variability power, the residual power spectrum falls as that of the time-averaged source structure, which is similar across simulations; this behavior can be naturally explained if the variability arises from a multiplicative random field that has a steeper high-frequency power-law index than that of the time-averaged source structure. We briefly explore the ability of power spectral variability studies to constrain physical parameters relevant for the GRMHD simulations, which can be scaled to provide predictions for black holes in a range of systems in the optically thin regime. We present specific expectations for the behavior of the M87* and Sgr A* accretion flows as observed by the EHT.

Antonios Nathanail, Prasun Dhang, and Christian M. Fromm. 5/10/2022. “Magnetic field structure in the vicinity of a supermassive black hole in low-luminosity galaxies: the case of Sgr A*.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 513, 4, Pp. 5204-5210. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Observations of SgrA∗ have provided a lot of insight on low-luminosity accretion, with a handful of bright flares accompanied with orbital motion close to the horizon. It has been proposed that gas supply comes from stellar winds in the neighborhood of the supermassive black hole. We here argue that the flow at the vicinity of the black hole has a low magnetization and a structure of alternating polarity, totally dictated by the well-studied and long-ago proposed MRI turbulent process. This can be the case, provided that in larger distances from the black hole magnetic diffusivity is dominant, and thus, the magnetic field will never reach equipartition values. For SgrA∗⁠, we show the immediate consequences of this specific magnetic field geometry, which are: (i) an intermittent flow that passes from quiescent states to flaring activity, (ii) no quasi-steady-state jet, (iii) no possibility of a magnetically arrested configuration. Moreover, a further distinctive feature of this geometry is the intense magnetic reconnection events, occurring as layers of opposite magnetic polarity, accreted in the vicinity of the black hole. Finally, we argue that the absence of a jet structure in such case will be a smoking gun in 43 and 86 GHz observations.
Christian M. Fromm, Alejandro Cruz-Osorio, Yosuke Mizuno, Antonios Nathanail, Ziri Younsi, Oliver Porth, Hector Olivares, Jordy Davelaar, Heino Falcke, Michael Kramer, and Luciano Rezzolla. 4/20/2022. “Impact of non-thermal particles on the spectral and structural properties of M87 .” Astronomy & Astrophysics, 660, A107, Pp. 1-22. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Context. The recent 230 GHz observations of the Event Horizon Telescope are able to image the innermost structure of M 87 and show a ring-like structure that agrees with thermal synchrotron emission generated in a torus surrounding a supermassive black hole. However, at lower frequencies, M 87 is characterised by a large-scale and edge-brightened jet with clear signatures of non-thermal emission. In order to bridge the gap between these scales and to provide a theoretical interpretation of these observations, we perform general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations of accretion onto black holes and jet launching.
Aims: M 87 has been the target for multiple observations across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Among these, very large baseline interferometry (VLBI) observations provide unique details of the collimation profile of the jet down to several gravitational radii. We aim to model the observed broad-band spectrum of M 87 from the radio to the near-IR regime and at the same time, fit the jet structure as observed with global millimeter-VLBI at 86 GHz.
Methods: We used general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics and simulated the accretion of the magnetised plasma onto Kerr black holes in 3D. The radiative signatures of these simulations were computed taking different electron distribution functions into account, and a detailed parameter survey was performed in order to match the observations.
Results: The results of our simulations show that magnetically arrested disks around fast-spinning black holes (a⋆ ≥ 0.5) together with a mixture of thermal and non-thermal particle distributions are able to simultaneously model the broad-band spectrum and the innermost jet structure of M 87.
George N. Wong, Ben S. Prather, Vedant Dhruv, Benjamin R. Ryan, Monika Mościbrodzka, Chi-Kwan Chan, Abhishek V. Joshi, Ricardo Yarza, Angelo Ricarte, Hotaka Shiokawa, Joshua C. Dolence, Scott C. Noble, Jonathan C. McKinney, and Charles F. Gammie. 4/13/2022. “PATOKA: Simulating Electromagnetic Observables of Black Hole Accretion.” The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 259, 2, 64. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) has released analyses of reconstructed images of horizon-scale millimeter emission near the supermassive black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy. Parts of the analyses made use of a large library of synthetic black hole images and spectra, which were produced using numerical general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics fluid simulations and polarized ray tracing. In this article, we describe the PATOKA pipeline, which was used to generate the Illinois contribution to the EHT simulation library. We begin by describing the relevant accretion systems and radiative processes. We then describe the details of the three numerical codes we use, iharm, ipole, and igrmonty, paying particular attention to differences between the current generation of the codes and the originally published versions. Finally, we provide a brief overview of simulated data as produced by PATOKA and conclude with a discussion of limitations and future directions.