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EVIDENCE FOR LOW BLACK HOLE SPIN AND PHYSICALLY MOTIVATED ACCRETION MODELS FROM MILLIMETER-VLBI OBSERVATIONS OF SAGITTARIUS A*

Abstract

Millimeter very long baseline interferometry (mm-VLBI) provides the novel capacity to probe the emission region of a handful of supermassive black holes on sub-horizon scales. For Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, this provides access to the region in the immediate vicinity of the horizon. Broderick et al. have already shown that by leveraging spectral and polarization information as well as accretion theory, it is possible to extract accretion-model parameters (including black hole spin) from mm-VLBI experiments containing only a handful of telescopes. Here we repeat this analysis with the most recent mm-VLBI data, considering a class of aligned, radiatively inefficient accretion flow (RIAF) models. We find that the combined data set rules out symmetric models for Sgr A*'s flux distribution at the 3.9{sigma} level, strongly favoring length-to-width ratios of roughly 2.4:1. More importantly, we find that physically motivated accretion flow models provide a significantly better fit to the mm-VLBI observations than phenomenological models, at the 2.9{sigma} level. This implies that not only is mm-VLBI presently capable of distinguishing between potential physical models for Sgr A*'s emission, but further that it is sensitive to the strong gravitational lensing associated with the  More>>
Authors:
Broderick, Avery E; [1]  Fish, Vincent L; Doeleman, Sheperd S; [2]  Loeb, Abraham [3] 
  1. Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, 60 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3H8 (Canada)
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Haystack Observatory, Route 40, Westford, MA 01886 (United States)
  3. Institute for Theory and Computation, Harvard University, Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
Publication Date:
Jul 10, 2011
Product Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 735; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/735/2/110
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; CAPACITY; MILKY WAY; PHOTONS; PLANETS; BOSONS; ELEMENTARY PARTICLES; GALAXIES; MASSLESS PARTICLES
OSTI ID:
21578381
Country of Origin:
United States
Language:
English
Other Identifying Numbers:
Journal ID: ISSN 0004-637X; ASJOAB; TRN: US12O6221056107
Availability:
Available from http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/735/2/110
Submitting Site:
INIS
Size:
15 pages
Announcement Date:
Aug 08, 2012

Citation Formats

Broderick, Avery E, Fish, Vincent L, Doeleman, Sheperd S, and Loeb, Abraham. EVIDENCE FOR LOW BLACK HOLE SPIN AND PHYSICALLY MOTIVATED ACCRETION MODELS FROM MILLIMETER-VLBI OBSERVATIONS OF SAGITTARIUS A*. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/735/2/110.
Broderick, Avery E, Fish, Vincent L, Doeleman, Sheperd S, & Loeb, Abraham. EVIDENCE FOR LOW BLACK HOLE SPIN AND PHYSICALLY MOTIVATED ACCRETION MODELS FROM MILLIMETER-VLBI OBSERVATIONS OF SAGITTARIUS A*. United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/735/2/110.
Broderick, Avery E, Fish, Vincent L, Doeleman, Sheperd S, and Loeb, Abraham. 2011. "EVIDENCE FOR LOW BLACK HOLE SPIN AND PHYSICALLY MOTIVATED ACCRETION MODELS FROM MILLIMETER-VLBI OBSERVATIONS OF SAGITTARIUS A*." United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/735/2/110. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/10.1088/0004-637X/735/2/110.
@misc{etde_21578381,
title = {EVIDENCE FOR LOW BLACK HOLE SPIN AND PHYSICALLY MOTIVATED ACCRETION MODELS FROM MILLIMETER-VLBI OBSERVATIONS OF SAGITTARIUS A*}
author = {Broderick, Avery E, Fish, Vincent L, Doeleman, Sheperd S, and Loeb, Abraham}
abstractNote = {Millimeter very long baseline interferometry (mm-VLBI) provides the novel capacity to probe the emission region of a handful of supermassive black holes on sub-horizon scales. For Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, this provides access to the region in the immediate vicinity of the horizon. Broderick et al. have already shown that by leveraging spectral and polarization information as well as accretion theory, it is possible to extract accretion-model parameters (including black hole spin) from mm-VLBI experiments containing only a handful of telescopes. Here we repeat this analysis with the most recent mm-VLBI data, considering a class of aligned, radiatively inefficient accretion flow (RIAF) models. We find that the combined data set rules out symmetric models for Sgr A*'s flux distribution at the 3.9{sigma} level, strongly favoring length-to-width ratios of roughly 2.4:1. More importantly, we find that physically motivated accretion flow models provide a significantly better fit to the mm-VLBI observations than phenomenological models, at the 2.9{sigma} level. This implies that not only is mm-VLBI presently capable of distinguishing between potential physical models for Sgr A*'s emission, but further that it is sensitive to the strong gravitational lensing associated with the propagation of photons near the black hole. Based upon this analysis we find that the most probable magnitude, viewing angle, and position angle for the black hole spin are a = 0.0{sup +0.64+0.86}, {theta}=68{sup o+5o+9o}{sub -20}{sup o}{sub -28}{sup o}, and {xi}=-52{sup o+17o+33o}{sub -15}{sup o}{sub -24}{sup o} east of north, where the errors quoted are the 1{sigma} and 2{sigma} uncertainties.}
doi = {10.1088/0004-637X/735/2/110}
journal = {Astrophysical Journal}
issue = {2}
volume = {735}
place = {United States}
year = {2011}
month = {Jul}
}