skip to main content

Title: Horizon-scale tests of gravity theories and fundamental physics from the Event Horizon Telescope image of Sagittarius A ∗

Horizon-scale images of black holes (BHs) and their shadows have opened an unprecedented window onto tests of gravity and fundamental physics in the strong-field regime. We consider a wide range of well-motivated deviations from classical general relativity (GR) BH solutions, and constrain them using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observations of Sagittarius A(Sgr A), connecting the size of the bright ring of emission to that of the underlying BH shadow and exploiting high-precision measurements of Sgr A’s mass-to-distance ratio. The scenarios we consider, and whose fundamental parameters we constrain, include various regular BHs, string-inspired space-times, violations of the no-hair theorem driven by additional fields, alternative theories of gravity, novel fundamental physics frameworks, and BH mimickers including well-motivated wormhole and naked singularity space-times. We demonstrate that the EHT image of Sgr Aplaces particularly stringent constraints on models predicting a shadow size larger than that of a Schwarzschild BH of a given mass, with the resulting limits in some cases surpassing cosmological ones. Our results are among the first tests of fundamental physics from the shadow of Sgr Aand, while the latter appears to be in excellent agreement with the predictions of GR, we have shown that a number of well-motivated alternative scenarios, including BH mimickers, are far from being ruled out at present.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
IOP Publishing
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Classical and Quantum Gravity
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Article No. 165007
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    We investigate the stellar mass–black hole mass (*BH) relation with type 1 active galactic nuclei (AGNs) down toBH=107M, corresponding to a ≃ −21 absolute magnitude in rest-frame ultraviolet, atz= 2–2.5. Exploiting the deep and large-area spectroscopic survey of the Hobby–Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX), we identify 66 type 1 AGNs withBHranging from 107–1010Mthat are measured with single-epoch virial method using Civemission lines detected in the HETDEX spectra.*of the host galaxies are estimated from optical to near-infrared photometric data taken with Spitzer, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, and ground-based 4–8 m class telescopes byCIGALEspectral energy distribution (SED) fitting. We further assess the validity of SED fitting in two cases by host-nuclear decomposition performed through surface brightness profile fitting on spatially resolved host galaxies with the James Webb Space Telescope/NIRCam CEERS data. We obtain the*BHrelation covering the unexplored low-mass ranges ofBH107108M, and conduct forward modeling to fully account for the selection biases and observational uncertainties. The intrinsic*BHrelation atz∼ 2 has a moderate positive offset of 0.52 ± 0.14 dex from the local relation, suggestive of more efficient black hole growth at higher redshift even in the low-mass regime ofBH107108M. Our*BHrelation is inconsistent with theBHsuppression at the low-*regime predicted by recent hydrodynamic simulations at a 98% confidence level, suggesting that feedback in the low-mass systems may be weaker than those produced in hydrodynamic simulations.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Polyatomic molecules have been identified as sensitive probes of charge-parity violating and parity violating physics beyond the Standard Model (BSM). For example, many linear triatomic molecules are both laser-coolable and have parity doublets in the ground electronicX˜2Σ+(010)state arising from the bending vibration, both features that can greatly aid BSM searches. Understanding theX˜2Σ+(010)state is a crucial prerequisite to precision measurements with linear polyatomic molecules. Here, we characterize the fundamental bending vibration of174YbOH using high-resolution optical spectroscopy on the nominally forbiddenX˜2Σ+(010)A˜2Π1/2(000)transition at 588 nm. We assign 39 transitions originating from the lowest rotational levels of theX˜2Σ+(010)state, and accurately model the state’s structure with an effective Hamiltonian using best-fit parameters. Additionally, we perform Stark and Zeeman spectroscopy on theX˜2Σ+(010)state and fit the molecule-frame dipole moment toDmol=2.16(1)Dand the effective electrong-factor togS=2.07(2). Further, we use an empirical model to explain observed anomalous line intensities in terms of interference from spin–orbit and vibronic perturbations in the excitedA˜2Π1/2(000)state. Our work is an essential step toward searches for BSM physics in YbOH and other linear polyatomic molecules.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Mass measurements from low-mass black hole X-ray binaries (LMXBs) and radio pulsars have been used to identify a gap between the most massive neutron stars (NSs) and the least massive black holes (BHs). BH mass measurements in LMXBs are typically only possible for transient systems: outburst periods enable detection via all-sky X-ray monitors, while quiescent periods enable radial velocity measurements of the low-mass donor. We quantitatively study selection biases due to the requirement of transient behavior for BH mass measurements. Using rapid population synthesis simulations (COSMIC), detailed binary stellar-evolution models (MESA), and the disk instability model of transient behavior, we demonstrate that transient LMXB selection effects introduce observational biases, and can suppress mass-gap BHs in the observed sample. However, we find a population of transient LMXBs with mass-gap BHs form through accretion-induced collapse of an NS during the LMXB phase, which is inconsistent with observations. These results are robust against variations of binary evolution prescriptions. The significance of this accretion-induced collapse population depends upon the maximum NS birth massMNS,birthmax. To reflect the observed dearth of low-mass BHs,COSMICandMESAmodels favorMNS,birthmax2M. In the absence of further observational biases against LMXBs with mass-gap BHs, our results indicate the need for additional physics connected to the modeling of LMXB formation and evolution.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    We present a stellar dynamical mass measurement of a newly detected supermassive black hole (SMBH) at the center of the fast-rotating, massive elliptical galaxy NGC 2693 as part of the MASSIVE survey. We combine high signal-to-noise ratio integral field spectroscopy (IFS) from the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph with wide-field data from the Mitchell Spectrograph at McDonald Observatory to extract and model stellar kinematics of NGC 2693 from the central ∼150 pc out to ∼2.5 effective radii. Observations from Hubble Space Telescope WFC3 are used to determine the stellar light distribution. We perform fully triaxial Schwarzschild orbit modeling using the latest TriOS code and a Bayesian search in 6D galaxy model parameter space to determine NGC 2693's SMBH mass (MBH), stellar mass-to-light ratio, dark matter content, and intrinsic shape. We findMBH=1.7±0.4×109Mand a triaxial intrinsic shape with axis ratiosp=b/a= 0.902 ± 0.009 andq=c/a=0.7210.010+0.011, triaxiality parameterT= 0.39 ± 0.04. In comparison, the best-fit orbit model in the axisymmetric limit and (cylindrical) Jeans anisotropic model of NGC 2693 preferMBH=2.4±0.6×109MandMBH=2.9±0.3×109M, respectively. Neither model can account for the non-axisymmetric stellar velocity features present in the IFS data.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Spinning supermassive black holes (BHs) in active galactic nuclei magnetically launch relativistic collimated outflows, or jets. Without angular momentum supply, such jets are thought to perish within 3 orders of magnitude in distance from the BH, well before reaching kiloparsec scales. We study the survival of such jets at the largest scale separation to date, via 3D general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations of rapidly spinning BHs immersed into uniform zero-angular-momentum gas threaded by a weak vertical magnetic field. We place the gas outside the BH sphere of influence, or the Bondi radius, chosen to be much larger than the BH gravitational radius,RB= 103Rg. The BH develops dynamically important large-scale magnetic fields, forms a magnetically arrested disk (MAD), and launches relativistic jets that propagate well outsideRBand suppress BH accretion to 1.5% of the Bondi rate,ṀB. Thus, low-angular-momentum accretion in the MAD state can form large-scale jets in Fanaroff–Riley (FR) type I and II galaxies. Subsequently, the disk shrinks and exits the MAD state: barely a disk (BAD), it rapidly precesses, whips the jets around, globally destroys them, and lets 5%–10% ofṀBreach the BH. Thereafter, the disk starts rocking back and forth by angles 90°–180°: the rocking accretion disk (RAD) launches weak intermittent jets that spread their energy over a large area and suppress BH accretion to ≲2%ṀB. Because the BAD and RAD states tangle up the jets and destroy them well insideRB, they are promising candidates for the more abundant, but less luminous, class of FR0 galaxies.

    more » « less