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Principal-Component Interferometric Modeling (PRIMO), an Algorithm for EHT Data I: Reconstructing Images from Simulated EHT ObservationsThe sparse interferometric coverage of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) poses a significant challenge for both reconstruction and model fitting of black-hole images. PRIMO is a new principal components analysis-based algorithm for image reconstruction that uses the results of high-fidelity general relativistic, magnetohydrodynamic simulations of low-luminosity accretion flows as a training set. This allows the reconstruction of images that are both consistent with the interferometric data and that live in the space of images that is spanned by the simulations. PRIMO follows Monty Carlo Markov Chains to fit a linear combination of principal components derived from an ensemble of simulated images to interferometric data. We show that PRIMO can efficiently and accurately reconstruct synthetic EHT data sets for several simulated images, even when the simulation parameters are significantly different from those of the image ensemble that was used to generate the principal components. The resulting reconstructions achieve resolution that is consistent with the performance of the array and do not introduce significant biases in image features such as the diameter of the ring of emission.Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
SYMBA: An end-to-end VLBI synthetic data generation pipeline: Simulating Event Horizon Telescope observations of M 87Context. Realistic synthetic observations of theoretical source models are essential for our understanding of real observational data. In using synthetic data, one can verify the extent to which source parameters can be recovered and evaluate how various data corruption effects can be calibrated. These studies are the most important when proposing observations of new sources, in the characterization of the capabilities of new or upgraded instruments, and when verifying model-based theoretical predictions in a direct comparison with observational data. Aims. We present the SYnthetic Measurement creator for long Baseline Arrays ( SYMBA ), a novel synthetic data generation pipeline for Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) observations. SYMBA takes into account several realistic atmospheric, instrumental, and calibration effects. Methods. We used SYMBA to create synthetic observations for the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a millimetre VLBI array, which has recently captured the first image of a black hole shadow. After testing SYMBA with simple source and corruption models, we study the importance of including all corruption and calibration effects, compared to the addition of thermal noise only. Using synthetic data based on two example general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics (GRMHD) model images of M 87, we performed case studies to assess the image qualitymore »