First Sagittarius A* Event Horizon Telescope results. I. The shadow of the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way

Kazunori Akiyama, ALBERDI ANTONIO, Walter Alef, Juan Carlos Algaba, F Richard, Keiichi Asada, Rebecca Azulay, Uwe Bach, Anne-Kathrin Baczko, David Ball, Mislav Baloković, John P. Barrett, Michi Bauböck, Bradford Benson, Dan Bintley, Lindy Blackburn, Raymond Blundell, Katherine L Bouman, Geoffrey Bower, Hope BoyceMichael Bremer, Christiaan Brinkerink, Roger Brissenden, Silke Britzen, Avery Broderick, BROGUIERE Dominique, Thomas Bronzwaer, Sandra Guadalupe Bustamante Gonzalez, Do-Young Byun, John Carlstrom, Chiara Ceccobello, Andrew Chael, Chi-kwan Chan, Koushik Chatterjee, S. Chatterjee, Ming-Tang Chen, Yongjun Chen, Xiaopeng Cheng, Ilje Cho, Pierre Christian, Nicholas Conroy, James Cordes, CRAWFORD THOMAS, Geoffrey Crew, Alejandro Cruz-Osorio, Cui (崔玉竹) Yuzhu, Jordy Davelaar, Mariafelicia De Laurentis, Roman Gold, The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration

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We present the first Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observations of Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the Galactic center source associated with a supermassive black hole. These observations were conducted in 2017 using a global interferometric array of eight telescopes operating at a wavelength of λ = 1.3 mm. The EHT data resolve a compact emission region with intrahour variability. A variety of imaging and modeling analyses all support an image that is dominated by a bright, thick ring with a diameter of 51.8 ± 2.3 μas (68% credible interval). The ring has modest azimuthal brightness asymmetry and a comparatively dim interior. Using a large suite of numerical simulations, we demonstrate that the EHT images of Sgr A* are consistent with the expected appearance of a Kerr black hole with mass ∼4 × 106 M⊙, which is inferred to exist at this location based on previous infrared observations of individual stellar orbits, as well as maser proper-motion studies. Our model comparisons disfavor scenarios where the black hole is viewed at high inclination (i > 50°), as well as nonspinning black holes and those with retrograde accretion disks. Our results provide direct evidence for the presence of a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, and for the first time we connect the predictions from dynamical measurements of stellar orbits on scales of 103–105 gravitational radii to event-horizon-scale images and variability. Furthermore, a comparison with the EHT results for the supermassive black hole M87* shows consistency with the predictions of general relativity spanning over three orders of magnitude in central mass.
TidsskriftThe Astrophysical Journal Letters
Udgave nummer2
Antal sider21
StatusUdgivet - 10. maj 2022


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