ESTIMATING THE PARAMETERS OF SAGITTARIUS A*'s ACCRETION FLOW VIA MILLIMETER VLBI
Author(s)Broderick, Avery E.; Fish, Vincent L.; Loeb, Abraham; Doeleman, Sheperd Samuel
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Recent millimeter-VLBI observations of Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) have, for the first time, directly probed distances comparable to the horizon scale of a black hole. This provides unprecedented access to the environment immediately around the horizon of an accreting black hole. We leverage both existing spectral and polarization measurements and our present understanding of accretion theory to produce a suite of generic radiatively inefficient accretion flow (RIAF) models of Sgr A*, which we then fit to these recent millimeter-VLBI observations. We find that if the accretion flow onto Sgr A* is well described by an RIAF model, the orientation and magnitude of the black hole's spin are constrained to a two-dimensional surface in the spin, inclination, position angle parameter space. For each of these, we find the likeliest values and their 1σ and 2σ errors to be a = 0[superscript +0.4 +0.7], ϴ = 50° [superscript +10° +30° subscript -10° -10°] and ξ = -20° [superscript +31° +107° subscript -16° -29°], when the resulting probability distribution is marginalized over the others. The most probable combination is a = 0+0.2+0.4, ϴ =90° [subscript -40° -50°], and ξ = -14° [superscript +7° +11° subscript -7° -11°], though the uncertainties on these are very strongly correlated, and high probability configurations exist for a variety of inclination angles above 30° and spins below 0.99. Nevertheless, this demonstrates the ability millimeter-VLBI observations, even with only a few stations, to significantly constrain the properties of Sgr A*.
Broderick, Avery E., Vincent L. Fish, Sheperd S. Doeleman, and Abraham Loeb. “ESTIMATING THE PARAMETERS OF SAGITTARIUS A*’s ACCRETION FLOW VIA MILLIMETER VLBI.” The Astrophysical Journal 697, no. 1 (April 30, 2009): 45–54. © 2009 The American Astronomical Society
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