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  1. Here, we demonstrate that polarization properties show a wide diversity depending on viewing angles. To simulate images of a supermassive black hole and surrounding plasma, we performed a full-polarimetric general relativistic radiative transfer based on three-dimensional general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics models with moderate magnetic strengths. Under an assumption of a hot-jet and cold-disk in the electron temperature prescription, we confirmed a typical scenario where polarized synchrotron emissions from the funnel jet experience Faraday rotation and conversion in the equatorial disk. Further, we found that linear polarization vectors are inevitably depolarized for edge-on-like observers, whereas a portion of vectors survive and reach the observers in face-on-like cases. We also found that circular polarization components have persistent signs in the face-on cases, and changing signs in the edge-on cases. It is confirmed that these features are smoothly connected via intermediate viewing-angle cases. These results are due to Faraday rotation/conversion for different viewing angles, and suggest that a combination of linear and circular polarimetry can give a constraint on the inclination between the observer and black hole’s (and/or disk’s) rotating-axis and plasma properties in the jet–disk structure. These can also lead to a more statistical and unified interpretation for a diversity of emissions from active galactic nuclei. 
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  2. Abstract

    It is one of the biggest issues in black hole (BH) astrophysics how to evaluate BH feedback to its environments precisely. Aiming at studying the unique gas dynamics of super-Eddington flow around supermassive black hole (SMBH) seeds at high redshift, we carried out axisymmetric two-dimensional radiation hydrodynamic simulations using a nested simulation-box method. Here we divide the simulation box into an inner zone at (2–3 × 103)rSch (with rSch being the Schwarzschild radius) and an outer zone at (2 × 103–3 × 106)rSch, with smooth connection of the physical quantities, such as gas density, velocity, and radiation energy. We start the calculation by injecting mass through the outer boundary of the inner zone at a constant rate of $\dot{M}_{\rm {inj}}=10^3L_{\rm {Edd}}/c^2$, where LEdd is the Eddington luminosity and c is the speed of light. A powerful outflow is generated in the innermost region and it propagates from the inner zone to the outer zone. The outflows are characterized by a velocity of 0.02c (0.7c) and density of 10−17 (10−19) g cm−3 for near the edge-on (face-on) direction. The outflow is gradually accelerated as it travels by accepting radiation-pressure force. The final mass outflow rate at the outermost boundary is $\dot{M}_{\rm {out}}\sim 0.3 \times \dot{M}_{\rm {inj}}$. By extrapolating the outflow structure to a further larger scale, we find that the momentum and energy fluxes at r ∼ 0.1 pc are ∼10–100 LEdd/c and ∼0.1–10 LEdd, respectively. Moreover, we find that the impacts are highly anisotropic, in the sense that larger impacts occur towards the face-on direction than in the edge-on direction. These results indicate that the BH feedback will work more efficiently on the interstellar medium than assumed in the cosmological simulations.

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  3. Abstract

    For testing different electron temperature (Te) prescriptions in general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics (GRMHD) simulations through observations, we propose to utilize linear polarization (LP) and circular polarization (CP) images. We calculate the polarization images based on a semi-magnetically arrested disk GRMHD model for variousTeparameters, bearing M87 in mind. We find an LP–CP separation in the images of the low-Tedisk cases at 230GHz; namely, the LP flux mainly originates from downstream of the jet, and the CP flux comes from the counter-side jet, while the total intensity is maximum at the jet base. This can be understood as follows: although the LP flux is generated through synchrotron emission widely around the black hole, most of the LP flux from the jet base does not reach the observer, since it undergoes Faraday rotation (Te2) when passing through the outer cold disk and is thus depolarized. Hence, only the LP flux from the downstream (not passing the cold dense plasmas) can survive. Meanwhile, the CP flux is generated from the LP flux by Faraday conversion ( ∝Te) in the inner hot region. Stronger CP flux is thus observed from the counter-side jet. Moreover, the LP–CP separation is more enhanced at a lower frequency, such as 86 GHz, but is rather weak at 43 GHz, since the media in the latter case is optically thick for synchrotron self-absorption so that all of the fluxes should come from the photosphere. The same is true for cases with higher mass accretion rates and/or larger inclination angles.

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  4. Abstract With unprecedented angular resolution, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) has opened a new era of black hole studies. We have previously calculated the expected polarization images of M 87* with EHT observations in mind. There, we demonstrated that circular polarization (CP) images, as well as linear polarization (LP) maps, can convey quite useful information, such as the flow structure and magnetic field configuration around the black hole. In this paper, we make new predictions for the cases in which disk emission dominates over jet emission, bearing Sgr A* in mind. Here we set the proton-to-electron temperature ratio of the disk component to be Tp/Te ∼ 2 so as to suppress jet emission relative to emission from accretion flow. As a result, we obtain ring-like images and triple-forked images around the black hole for face-on and edge-on cases, respectively. We also find significant CP components in the images (≳10% in fraction), with both positive and negative signs, amplified through the Faraday conversion, not depending sensitively on the inclination angles. Furthermore, we find a “separatrix” in the CP images, across which the sign of CP is reversed and on which the LP flux is brightest, that can be attributed to the helical magnetic field structure in the disk. These results indicate that future full polarization EHT images are a quite useful tracer of the magnetic field structure. We also discuss to what extent we will be able to extract information regarding magnetic field configurations under the scattering in the interstellar plasma, in future EHT polarimetric observations of Sgr A*. 
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  5. Context. Because of its proximity and the large size of its black hole, M 87 is one of the best targets for studying the launching mechanism of active galactic nucleus jets. Currently, magnetic fields are considered to be an essential factor in the launching and accelerating of the jet. However, current observational estimates of the magnetic field strength of the M 87 jet are limited to the innermost part of the jet (≲100 r s ) or to HST-1 (∼10 5   r s ). No attempt has yet been made to measure the magnetic field strength in between. Aims. We aim to infer the magnetic field strength of the M 87 jet out to a distance of several thousand r s by tracking the distance-dependent changes in the synchrotron spectrum of the jet from high-resolution very long baseline interferometry observations. Methods. In order to obtain high-quality spectral index maps, quasi-simultaneous observations at 22 and 43 GHz were conducted using the KVN and VERA Array (KaVA) and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA). We compared the spectral index distributions obtained from the observations with a model and placed limits on the magnetic field strengths as a function of distance. Results. The overall spectral morphology is broadly consistent over the course of these observations. The observed synchrotron spectrum rapidly steepens from α 22 − 43 GHz  ∼ −0.7 at ∼2 mas to α 22 − 43 GHz  ∼ −2.5 at ∼6 mas. In the KaVA observations, the spectral index remains unchanged until ∼10 mas, but this trend is unclear in the VLBA observations. A spectral index model in which nonthermal electron injections inside the jet decrease with distance can adequately reproduce the observed trend. This suggests the magnetic field strength of the jet at a distance of 2−10 mas (∼900 r s  − ∼4500 r s in the deprojected distance) has a range of B  = (0.3−1.0 G)( z /2mas) −0.73 . Extrapolating to the Event Horizon Telescope scale yields consistent results, suggesting that the majority of the magnetic flux of the jet near the black hole is preserved out to ∼4500 r s without significant dissipation. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  6. Abstract The nearby radio galaxy M87 is a prime target for studying black hole accretion and jet formation 1,2 . Event Horizon Telescope observations of M87 in 2017, at a wavelength of 1.3 mm, revealed a ring-like structure, which was interpreted as gravitationally lensed emission around a central black hole 3 . Here we report images of M87 obtained in 2018, at a wavelength of 3.5 mm, showing that the compact radio core is spatially resolved. High-resolution imaging shows a ring-like structure of $${8.4}_{-1.1}^{+0.5}$$ 8.4 − 1.1 + 0.5 Schwarzschild radii in diameter, approximately 50% larger than that seen at 1.3 mm. The outer edge at 3.5 mm is also larger than that at 1.3 mm. This larger and thicker ring indicates a substantial contribution from the accretion flow with absorption effects, in addition to the gravitationally lensed ring-like emission. The images show that the edge-brightened jet connects to the accretion flow of the black hole. Close to the black hole, the emission profile of the jet-launching region is wider than the expected profile of a black-hole-driven jet, suggesting the possible presence of a wind associated with the accretion flow. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 27, 2024
  7. In April 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration reported the first-ever event-horizon-scale images of a black hole, resolving the central compact radio source in the giant elliptical galaxy M 87. These images reveal a ring with a southerly brightness distribution and a diameter of ∼42 μas, consistent with the predicted size and shape of a shadow produced by the gravitationally lensed emission around a supermassive black hole. These results were obtained as part of the April 2017 EHT observation campaign, using a global very long baseline interferometric radio array operating at a wavelength of 1.3 mm. Here, we present results based on the second EHT observing campaign, taking place in April 2018 with an improved array, wider frequency coverage, and increased bandwidth. In particular, the additional baselines provided by the Greenland telescope improved the coverage of the array. Multiyear EHT observations provide independent snapshots of the horizon-scale emission, allowing us to confirm the persistence, size, and shape of the black hole shadow, and constrain the intrinsic structural variability of the accretion flow. We have confirmed the presence of an asymmetric ring structure, brighter in the southwest, with a median diameter of 43.3−3.1+1.5 μas. The diameter of the 2018 ring is remarkably consistent with the diameter obtained from the previous 2017 observations. On the other hand, the position angle of the brightness asymmetry in 2018 is shifted by about 30° relative to 2017. The perennial persistence of the ring and its diameter robustly support the interpretation that the ring is formed by lensed emission surrounding a Kerr black hole with a mass ∼6.5 × 109M. The significant change in the ring brightness asymmetry implies a spin axis that is more consistent with the position angle of the large-scale jet.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  8. Abstract

    In 2017 the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observed the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), at a frequency of 228.1 GHz (λ= 1.3 mm). The fundamental physics tests that even a single pulsar orbiting Sgr A* would enable motivate searching for pulsars in EHT data sets. The high observing frequency means that pulsars—which typically exhibit steep emission spectra—are expected to be very faint. However, it also negates pulse scattering, an effect that could hinder pulsar detections in the Galactic center. Additionally, magnetars or a secondary inverse Compton emission could be stronger at millimeter wavelengths than at lower frequencies. We present a search for pulsars close to Sgr A* using the data from the three most sensitive stations in the EHT 2017 campaign: the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, the Large Millimeter Telescope, and the IRAM 30 m Telescope. We apply three detection methods based on Fourier-domain analysis, the fast folding algorithm, and single-pulse searches targeting both pulsars and burst-like transient emission. We use the simultaneity of the observations to confirm potential candidates. No new pulsars or significant bursts were found. Being the first pulsar search ever carried out at such high radio frequencies, we detail our analysis methods and give a detailed estimation of the sensitivity of the search. We conclude that the EHT 2017 observations are only sensitive to a small fraction (≲2.2%) of the pulsars that may exist close to Sgr A*, motivating further searches for fainter pulsars in the region.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 29, 2024
  9. Abstract

    Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observations have revealed a bright ring of emission around the supermassive black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy. EHT images in linear polarization have further identified a coherent spiral pattern around the black hole, produced from ordered magnetic fields threading the emitting plasma. Here we present the first analysis of circular polarization using EHT data, acquired in 2017, which can potentially provide additional insights into the magnetic fields and plasma composition near the black hole. Interferometric closure quantities provide convincing evidence for the presence of circularly polarized emission on event-horizon scales. We produce images of the circular polarization using both traditional and newly developed methods. All methods find a moderate level of resolved circular polarization across the image (〈∣v∣〉 < 3.7%), consistent with the low image-integrated circular polarization fraction measured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (∣vint∣ < 1%). Despite this broad agreement, the methods show substantial variation in the morphology of the circularly polarized emission, indicating that our conclusions are strongly dependent on the imaging assumptions because of the limited baseline coverage, uncertain telescope gain calibration, and weakly polarized signal. We include this upper limit in an updated comparison to general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulation models. This analysis reinforces the previously reported preference for magnetically arrested accretion flow models. We find that most simulations naturally produce a low level of circular polarization consistent with our upper limit and that Faraday conversion is likely the dominant production mechanism for circular polarization at 230 GHz in M87*.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024