Razieh Emami, Richard Anantua, Andrew A. Chael, and Abraham Loeb
. 12/28/2021. “Positron Effects on Polarized Images and Spectra from Jet and Accretion Flow Models of M87* and Sgr A*
.” The Astrophysical Journal, 923, Pp. 272, 1-27. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We study the effects of including a nonzero positron-to-electron fraction in emitting plasma on the polarized spectral energy distributions and submillimeter images of jet and accretion flow models for near-horizon emission from M87* and Sgr A*. For M87*, we consider a semi-analytic fit to the force-free plasma regions of a general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic jet simulation, which we populate with power-law leptons with a constant electron-to-magnetic pressure ratio. For Sgr A*, we consider a standard self-similar radiatively inefficient accretion flow where the emission is predominantly from thermal leptons with a small fraction in a power-law tail. In both models, we fix the positron-to-electron ratio throughout the emission region. We generate polarized images and spectra from our models using the general relativistic ray tracing and radiative transfer from GRTRANS. We find that a substantial positron fraction reduces the circular polarization fraction at IR and higher frequencies. However, in submillimeter images, higher positron fractions increase polarization fractions due to strong effects of Faraday conversion. We find an M87* jet model that best matches the available broadband total intensity, and 230 GHz polarization data is a sub-equipartition, with positron fraction of ≃10%. We show that jet models with significant positron fractions do not satisfy the polarimetric constraints at 230 GHz from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). Sgr A* models show similar trends in their polarization fractions with increasing pair fraction. Both models suggest that resolved, polarized EHT images are useful to constrain the presence of pairs at 230 GHz emitting regions of M87* and Sgr A*.
. 12/20/2021. “Photon rings of spherically symmetric black holes and robust tests of non-Kerr metrics
.” Physical Review D, 104, Pp. 124058. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Under very general assumptions on the accretion flow geometry, images of a black hole illuminated by electromagnetic radiation display a sequence of photon rings (demagnified and rotated copies of the direct image) which asymptotically approach a purely theoretical critical curve—the outline of the black hole photon shell. To a distant observer, these images appear dominated by the direct emission, which forms a ring whose diameter is primarily determined by the effective radius of the emitting region. For that reason, connecting the image diameter seen by a distant observer to the properties of the underlying spacetime crucially relies on a calibration that necessarily depends on the assumed astrophysical source model. On the other hand, the diameter of the photon rings depends more on the detailed geometry of the spacetime than on the source structure. As such, a photon ring detection would allow for the spacetime metric to be probed in a less model-dependent way, enabling more robust tests of general relativity and the Kerr hypothesis. Here we present the photon ring structure of several spherically symmetric black hole spacetimes and perform comparisons with the Schwarzschild/Kerr case. We offer our perspective on future tests of the spacetime metric with photon rings, discussing the challenges and opportunities involved.
Michael Janssen, Heino Falcke, Matthias Kadler, Eduardo Ros, and EHT the Collaboration
. 7/19/2021. “Event Horizon Telescope observations of the jet launching and collimation in Centaurus A
.” Nature Astronomy, 5, Pp. 1017-1028. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) observations of active galactic nuclei at millimetre wavelengths have the power to reveal the launching and initial collimation region of extragalactic radio jets, down to 10–100 gravitational radii (rg
) scales in nearby sources. Centaurus A is the closest radio-loud source to Earth. It bridges the gap in mass and accretion rate between the supermassive black holes (SMBHs) in Messier 87 and our Galactic Centre. A large southern declination of −43° has, however, prevented VLBI imaging of Centaurus A below a wavelength of 1 cm thus far. Here we show the millimetre VLBI image of the source, which we obtained with the Event Horizon Telescope at 228 GHz. Compared with previous observations, we image the jet of Centaurus A at a tenfold higher frequency and sixteen times sharper resolution and thereby probe sub-lightday structures. We reveal a highly collimated, asymmetrically edge-brightened jet as well as the fainter counterjet. We find that the source structure of Centaurus A resembles the jet in Messier 87 on ~500 rg
scales remarkably well. Furthermore, we identify the location of Centaurus A’s SMBH with respect to its resolved jet core at a wavelength of 1.3 mm and conclude that the source’s event horizon shadow4
should be visible at terahertz frequencies. This location further supports the universal scale invariance of black holes over a wide range of masses.
Prashant Kocherlakota, Luciano Rezzolla, and Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration
. 5/20/2021. “Constraints on non-Einsteinian black-hole charges with the 2019 EHT observations of M87
.” Physical Review D, 103, 10, Pp. 40-47. Publisher's Version
J. C. Algaba et al.
4/14/2021. “Broadband Multi-wavelength Properties of M87 during the 2017 Event Horizon Telescope Campaign
.” ApJL , 911, Pp. L11. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In 2017, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration succeeded in capturing the first direct image of the center of the M87 galaxy. The asymmetric ring morphology and size are consistent with theoretical expectations for a weakly accreting supermassive black hole of mass ∼6.5 × 109M⊙. The EHTC also partnered with several international facilities in space and on the ground, to arrange an extensive, quasi-simultaneous multi-wavelength campaign. This Letter presents the results and analysis of this campaign, as well as the multi-wavelength data as a legacy data repository. We captured M87 in a historically low state, and the core flux dominates over HST-1 at high energies, making it possible to combine core flux constraints with the more spatially precise very long baseline interferometry data. We present the most complete simultaneous multi-wavelength spectrum of the active nucleus to date, and discuss the complexity and caveats of combining data from different spatial scales into one broadband spectrum. We apply two heuristic, isotropic leptonic single-zone models to provide insight into the basic source properties, but conclude that a structured jet is necessary to explain M87's spectrum. We can exclude that the simultaneous γ-ray emission is produced via inverse Compton emission in the same region producing the EHT mm-band emission, and further conclude that the γ-rays can only be produced in the inner jets (inward of HST-1) if there are strongly particle-dominated regions. Direct synchrotron emission from accelerated protons and secondaries cannot yet be excluded.