We report measurements of the gravitationally lensed secondary image—the first in an infinite series of so-called “photon rings”—around the supermassive black hole M87* via simultaneous modeling and imaging of the 2017 Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observations. The inferred ring size remains constant across the seven days of the 2017 EHT observing campaign and is consistent with theoretical expectations, providing clear evidence that such measurements probe spacetime and a striking confirmation of the models underlying the first set of EHT results. The residual diffuse emission evolves on timescales comparable to one week. We are able to detect with high significance a southwestern extension consistent with that expected from the base of a jet that is rapidly rotating in the clockwise direction. This result adds further support to the identification of the jet in M87* with a black hole spin-driven outflow, launched via the Blandford-Znajek process. We present three revised estimates for the mass of M87* based on identifying the modeled thin ring component with the bright ringlike features seen in simulated images, one of which is only weakly sensitive to the astrophysics of the emission region. All three estimates agree with each other and previously reported values. Our strongest mass constraint combines information from both the ring and the diffuse emission region, which together imply a mass-to-distance ratio of 4.20 − 0.06 + 0.12 μ as and a corresponding black hole mass of (7.13 ± 0.39) × 109 M ⊙, where the error on the latter is now dominated by the systematic uncertainty arising from the uncertain distance to M87*.
|Publication status||Published - 2022 Aug 1|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science