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Using space-VLBI to probe gravity around Sgr A*

Fromm, CM; Mizuno, Y; Younsi, Z; Olivares, H; Porth, O; De Laurentis, M; Falcke, H; ... Rezzolla, L; + view all (2021) Using space-VLBI to probe gravity around Sgr A*. Astronomy & Astrophysics , 649 , Article A116. 10.1051/0004-6361/201937335. Green open access

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CONTEXT: The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) will soon provide the first high-resolution images of the Galactic Centre supermassive black hole candidate Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), enabling us to probe gravity in the strong-field regime. In addition to studying the accretion process in extreme environments, the obtained data and reconstructed images could be used to investigate the underlying spacetime structure. In its current configuration, EHT is able to distinguish between a rotating Kerr black hole and a horizon-less object such as a boson star. Future developments can increase the ability of EHT to tell different spacetimes apart. AIMS: We investigate the capability of an advanced EHT concept, including an orbiting space antenna, to image and distinguish different spacetimes around Sgr A*. METHODS: We used general-relativistic magneto-hydrodynamical simulations of accreting compact objects (Kerr and dilaton black holes as well as boson stars) and computed their radiative signatures via general-relativistic radiative transfer. To facilitate a comparison with upcoming and future EHT observations, we produced realistic synthetic data including the source variability, diffractive, and refractive scattering while incorporating the observing array, including a space antenna. From the generated synthetic observations, we dynamically reconstructed black hole shadow images using regularised maximum entropy methods. We employed a genetic algorithm to optimise the orbit of the space antenna with respect to improved imaging capabilities and u − v-plane coverage of the combined array (ground array and space antenna) and developed a new method to probe the source variability in Fourier space. RESULTS: The inclusion of an orbiting space antenna improves the capability of EHT to distinguish the spin of Kerr black holes and dilaton black holes based on reconstructed radio images and complex visibilities.

Type: Article
Title: Using space-VLBI to probe gravity around Sgr A*
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201937335
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201937335
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Physical data and processes: Gravitation, Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), radiation mechanisms: thermal – Methods: numerical – Galaxies: individual: Sgr A∗ – Techniques: interferometric
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Space and Climate Physics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10137750
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