First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results. V. Physical Origin of the Asymmetric Ring

The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, Kazunori Akiyama, Antxon Alberdi, Walter Alef, Keiichi Asada, Rebecca Azulay, Anne Kathrin Baczko, David Ball, Mislav Baloković, John Barrett, Dan Bintley, Lindy Blackburn, Wilfred Boland, Katherine L. Bouman, Geoffrey C. Bower, Michael Bremer, Christiaan D. Brinkerink, Roger Brissenden, Silke Britzen, Avery E. BroderickDominique Broguiere, Thomas Bronzwaer, Do Young Byun, John E. Carlstrom, Andrew Chael, Chi Kwan Chan, Shami Chatterjee, Koushik Chatterjee, Ming Tang Chen, Yongjun Chen, Ilje Cho, Pierre Christian, John E. Conway, James M. Cordes, Geoffrey B. Crew, Yuzhu Cui, Jordy Davelaar, Mariafelicia De Laurentis, Roger Deane, Jessica Dempsey, Gregory Desvignes, Jason Dexter, Sheperd S. Doeleman, Ralph P. Eatough, Heino Falcke, Vincent L. Fish, Ed Fomalont, Raquel Fraga-Encinas, Per Friberg, Christian M. Fromm, José L. Gómez, Peter Galison, Charles F. Gammie, Roberto Garcia, Olivier Gentaz, Boris Georgiev, Ciriaco Goddi, Roman Gold, Minfeng Gu, Mark Gurwell, Kazuhiro Hada, Michael H. Hecht, Ronald Hesper, Luis C. Ho, Paul Ho, Mareki Honma, Chih Wei L. Huang, Lei Huang, David H. Hughes, Shiro Ikeda, Makoto Inoue, Sara Issaoun, David J. James, Buell T. Jannuzi, Michael Janssen, Britton Jeter, Wu Jiang, Michael D. Johnson, Svetlana Jorstad, Taehyun Jung, Mansour Karami, Ramesh Karuppusamy, Tomohisa Kawashima, Garrett K. Keating, Mark Kettenis, Jae Young Kim, Junhan Kim, Jongsoo Kim, Motoki Kino, Jun Yi Koay, Patrick M. Koch, Shoko Koyama, Michael Kramer, Carsten Kramer, Thomas P. Krichbaum, Cheng Yu Kuo, Tod R. Lauer, Sang Sung Lee, Yan Rong Li, Zhiyuan Li, Michael Lindqvist, Kuo Liu, Elisabetta Liuzzo, Wen Ping Lo, Andrei P. Lobanov, Laurent Loinard, Colin Lonsdale, Ru Sen Lu, Nicholas R. Macdonald, Jirong Mao, Sera Markoff, Daniel P. Marrone, Alan P. Marscher, Iván Marti-Vidal, Satoki Matsushita, Lynn D. Matthews, Lia Medeiros, Karl M. Menten, Yosuke Mizuno, Izumi Mizuno, James M. Moran, Kotaro Moriyama, Monika Moscibrodzka, Cornelia Muller, Hiroshi Nagai, Neil M. Nagar, Masanori Nakamura, Ramesh Narayan, Gopal Narayanan, Iniyan Natarajan, Roberto Neri, Chunchong Ni, Aristeidis Noutsos, Hiroki Okino, Héctor Olivares, Tomoaki Oyama, Feryal Ozel, Daniel C.M. Palumbo, Nimesh Patel, Ue Li Pen, Dominic W. Pesce, Vincent Piétu, Richard Plambeck, Aleksandar Popstefanija, Oliver Porth, Ben Prather, Jorge A. Preciado-López, Dimitrios Psaltis, Hung Yi Pu, Venkatessh Ramakrishnan, Ramprasad Rao, Mark G. Rawlings, Alexander W. Raymond, Luciano Rezzolla, Bart Ripperda, Freek Roelofs, Alan Rogers, Eduardo Ros, Mel Rose, Arash Roshanineshat, Helge Rottmann, Alan L. Roy, Chet Ruszczyk, Benjamin R. Ryan, Kazi L.J. Rygl, Salvador Sánchez, David Sánchez-Arguelles, Mahito Sasada, Tuomas Savolainen, F. Peter Schloerb, Karl Friedrich Schuster, Lijing Shao, Zhiqiang Shen, Des Small, Bong Won Sohn, Jason Soohoo, Fumie Tazaki, Paul Tiede, Remo P.J. Tilanus, Michael Titus, Kenji Toma, Pablo Torne, Tyler Trent, Sascha Trippe, Shuichiro Tsuda, Ilse Van Bemmel, Huib Jan Van Langevelde, Daniel R. Van Rossum, Jan Wagner, John Wardle, Jonathan Weintroub, Norbert Wex, Robert Wharton, Maciek Wielgus, George N. Wong, Qingwen Wu, André Young, Ken Young, Ziri Younsi, Feng Yuan, Ye Fei Yuan, J. Anton Zensus, Guangyao Zhao, Shan Shan Zhao, Ziyan Zhu, Jadyn Anczarski, Frederick K. Baganoff, Andreas Eckart, Joseph R. Farah, Daryl Haggard, Zheng Meyer-Zhao, Daniel Michalik, Andrew Nadolski, Joseph Neilsen, Hiroaki Nishioka, Michael A. Nowak, Nicolas Pradel, Rurik A. Primiani, Kamal Souccar, Laura Vertatschitsch, Paul Yamaguchi, Shuo Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

86 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) has mapped the central compact radio source of the elliptical galaxy M87 at 1.3 mm with unprecedented angular resolution. Here we consider the physical implications of the asymmetric ring seen in the 2017 EHT data. To this end, we construct a large library of models based on general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) simulations and synthetic images produced by general relativistic ray tracing. We compare the observed visibilities with this library and confirm that the asymmetric ring is consistent with earlier predictions of strong gravitational lensing of synchrotron emission from a hot plasma orbiting near the black hole event horizon. The ring radius and ring asymmetry depend on black hole mass and spin, respectively, and both are therefore expected to be stable when observed in future EHT campaigns. Overall, the observed image is consistent with expectations for the shadow of a spinning Kerr black hole as predicted by general relativity. If the black hole spin and M87's large scale jet are aligned, then the black hole spin vector is pointed away from Earth. Models in our library of non-spinning black holes are inconsistent with the observations as they do not produce sufficiently powerful jets. At the same time, in those models that produce a sufficiently powerful jet, the latter is powered by extraction of black hole spin energy through mechanisms akin to the Blandford-Znajek process. We briefly consider alternatives to a black hole for the central compact object. Analysis of existing EHT polarization data and data taken simultaneously at other wavelengths will soon enable new tests of the GRMHD models, as will future EHT campaigns at 230 and 345 GHz.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL5
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume875
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 10 2019

Keywords

  • accretion, accretion disks
  • black hole physics
  • galaxies: individual (M87)
  • galaxies: jets
  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • techniques: high angular resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, T., Akiyama, K., Alberdi, A., Alef, W., Asada, K., Azulay, R., Baczko, A. K., Ball, D., Baloković, M., Barrett, J., Bintley, D., Blackburn, L., Boland, W., Bouman, K. L., Bower, G. C., Bremer, M., Brinkerink, C. D., Brissenden, R., Britzen, S., ... Zhang, S. (2019). First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results. V. Physical Origin of the Asymmetric Ring. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 875(1), [L5]. https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8213/ab0f43