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  1. Abstract High-sensitivity interstellar scintillation and polarization observations of PSR B0656+14 made at three epochs over a year using the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) show that the scattering is dominated by two different compact regions. We identify the one nearer to the pulsar with the shell of the Monogem Ring, thereby confirming the association. The other is probably associated with the Local Bubble. We find that the observed position angles of the pulsar spin axis and the spatial velocity are significantly different, with a separation of 19.°3 ± 0.°8, inconsistent with a previously published near-perfect alignment of 1° ± 2°. The two independent scattering regions are clearly defined in the secondary spectra, which show two strong forward parabolic arcs. The arc curvatures imply that the scattering screens corresponding to the outer and inner arcs are located approximately 28 pc from PSR B0656+14 and 185 pc from the Earth, respectively. Comparison of the observed Doppler profiles with electromagnetic simulations shows that both scattering regions are mildly anisotropic. For the outer arc, we estimate the anisotropy A R to be approximately 1.3, with the scattering irregularities aligned parallel to the pulsar velocity. For the outer arc, we compare the observed delay profiles with delay profiles computed from a theoretical strong-scattering model. Our results suggest that the spatial spectrum of the scattering irregularities in the Monogem Ring is flatter than Kolmogorov, but further observations are required to confirm this. 
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  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Abstract

    The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a millimeter very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) array that has imaged the apparent shadows of the supermassive black holes M87* and Sagittarius A*. Polarimetric data from these observations contain a wealth of information on the black hole and accretion flow properties. In this work, we develop polarimetric geometric modeling methods for mm-VLBI data, focusing on approaches that fit data products with differing degrees of invariance to broad classes of calibration errors. We establish a fitting procedure using a polarimetric “m-ring” model to approximate the image structure near a black hole. By fitting this model to synthetic EHT data from general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic models, we show that the linear and circular polarization structure can be successfully approximated with relatively few model parameters. We then fit this model to EHT observations of M87* taken in 2017. In total intensity and linear polarization, the m-ring fits are consistent with previous results from imaging methods. In circular polarization, the m-ring fits indicate the presence of event-horizon-scale circular polarization structure, with a persistent dipolar asymmetry and orientation across several days. The same structure was recovered independently of observing band, used data products, and model assumptions. Despite this broad agreement, imaging methods do not produce similarly consistent results. Our circular polarization results, which imposed additional assumptions on the source structure, should thus be interpreted with some caution. Polarimetric geometric modeling provides a useful and powerful method to constrain the properties of horizon-scale polarized emission, particularly for sparse arrays like the EHT.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  5. 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
  6. Abstract Interpretation of resolved polarized images of black holes by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) requires predictions of the polarized emission observable by an Earth-based instrument for a particular model of the black hole accretion system. Such predictions are generated by general relativistic radiative transfer (GRRT) codes, which integrate the equations of polarized radiative transfer in curved spacetime. A selection of ray-tracing GRRT codes used within the EHT Collaboration is evaluated for accuracy and consistency in producing a selection of test images, demonstrating that the various methods and implementations of radiative transfer calculations are highly consistent. When imaging an analytic accretion model, we find that all codes produce images similar within a pixel-wise normalized mean squared error (NMSE) of 0.012 in the worst case. When imaging a snapshot from a cell-based magnetohydrodynamic simulation, we find all test images to be similar within NMSEs of 0.02, 0.04, 0.04, and 0.12 in Stokes I , Q , U , and V , respectively. We additionally find the values of several image metrics relevant to published EHT results to be in agreement to much better precision than measurement uncertainties. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024