Universal interferometric signatures of a black hole's photon ring

Michael D. Johnson, Alexandru Lupsasca, Andrew Strominger, George N. Wong, Shahar Hadar, Daniel Kapec, Ramesh Narayan, Andrew Chael, Charles F. Gammie, Peter Galison, Daniel C.M. Palumbo, Sheperd S. Doeleman, Lindy Blackburn, Maciek Wielgus, Dominic W. Pesce, Joseph R. Farah, James M. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaaz1310
JournalScience Advances
Volume6
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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