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Title: Universal interferometric signatures of a black hole’s photon ring

Abstract

The Event Horizon Telescope image of the supermassive black hole in the galaxy M87 is dominated by a bright, unresolved ring. General relativity predicts that embedded within this image lies a thin “photon ring,” which is composed of an infinite sequence of self-similar subrings that are indexed by the number of photon orbits around the black hole. The subrings approach the edge of the black hole “shadow,” becoming exponentially narrower but weaker with increasing orbit number, with seemingly negligible contributions from high-order subrings. Here, we show that these subrings produce strong and universal signatures on long interferometric baselines. These signatures offer the possibility of precise measurements of black hole mass and spin, as well as tests of general relativity, using only a sparse interferometric array.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [2]; ORCiD logo [3];  [2]; ORCiD logo [4];  [1]; ORCiD logo [5]; ORCiD logo [6];  [2];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [7]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA (United States)
  2. Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA (United States)
  3. Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (United States); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  4. Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ (United States). School of Natural Sciences
  5. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA (United States); Princeton Univ., NJ (United States)
  6. Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (United States)
  7. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA (United States); Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston, MA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ (United States); Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP); National Science Foundation (NSF); Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA); Harvard University; John Templeton Foundation
OSTI Identifier:
1631981
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1626057
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0009988; SC0007870; AST-1440254; AST-1716536; AST-1716327; OISE-1743747; PHY-1205550; GBMF-5278; HST-HF2-51431.001-A; 60477
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Science Advances
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 2375-2548
Publisher:
AAAS
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; Science & Technology - Other Topics

Citation Formats

Johnson, Michael D., Lupsasca, Alexandru, Strominger, Andrew, Wong, George N., Hadar, Shahar, Kapec, Daniel, Narayan, Ramesh, Chael, Andrew, Gammie, Charles F., Galison, Peter, Palumbo, Daniel C. M., Doeleman, Sheperd S., Blackburn, Lindy, Wielgus, Maciek, Pesce, Dominic W., Farah, Joseph R., and Moran, James M. Universal interferometric signatures of a black hole’s photon ring. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aaz1310.
Johnson, Michael D., Lupsasca, Alexandru, Strominger, Andrew, Wong, George N., Hadar, Shahar, Kapec, Daniel, Narayan, Ramesh, Chael, Andrew, Gammie, Charles F., Galison, Peter, Palumbo, Daniel C. M., Doeleman, Sheperd S., Blackburn, Lindy, Wielgus, Maciek, Pesce, Dominic W., Farah, Joseph R., & Moran, James M. Universal interferometric signatures of a black hole’s photon ring. United States. doi:https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aaz1310
Johnson, Michael D., Lupsasca, Alexandru, Strominger, Andrew, Wong, George N., Hadar, Shahar, Kapec, Daniel, Narayan, Ramesh, Chael, Andrew, Gammie, Charles F., Galison, Peter, Palumbo, Daniel C. M., Doeleman, Sheperd S., Blackburn, Lindy, Wielgus, Maciek, Pesce, Dominic W., Farah, Joseph R., and Moran, James M. Wed . "Universal interferometric signatures of a black hole’s photon ring". United States. doi:https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aaz1310. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1631981.
@article{osti_1631981,
title = {Universal interferometric signatures of a black hole’s photon ring},
author = {Johnson, Michael D. and Lupsasca, Alexandru and Strominger, Andrew and Wong, George N. and Hadar, Shahar and Kapec, Daniel and Narayan, Ramesh and Chael, Andrew and Gammie, Charles F. and Galison, Peter and Palumbo, Daniel C. M. and Doeleman, Sheperd S. and Blackburn, Lindy and Wielgus, Maciek and Pesce, Dominic W. and Farah, Joseph R. and Moran, James M.},
abstractNote = {The Event Horizon Telescope image of the supermassive black hole in the galaxy M87 is dominated by a bright, unresolved ring. General relativity predicts that embedded within this image lies a thin “photon ring,” which is composed of an infinite sequence of self-similar subrings that are indexed by the number of photon orbits around the black hole. The subrings approach the edge of the black hole “shadow,” becoming exponentially narrower but weaker with increasing orbit number, with seemingly negligible contributions from high-order subrings. Here, we show that these subrings produce strong and universal signatures on long interferometric baselines. These signatures offer the possibility of precise measurements of black hole mass and spin, as well as tests of general relativity, using only a sparse interferometric array.},
doi = {10.1126/sciadv.aaz1310},
journal = {Science Advances},
number = 12,
volume = 6,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {3}
}

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