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Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity Tested Using the Black Hole Shadow



Black Hole Simulation Color

Simulation of M87 black hole showing plasma movement while rotating around black hole. The bright thin ring seen in blue is the edge of what we call black hole shadow. Credit: L. Medeiros; C. Chan; D. Psaltis; F. Özel; UArizona; IAS.

Einstein’s description of gravity is even more difficult to defeat after astrophysics put general creativity into a new test in Black hole images

Einstein’s theory of general relativity – the idea that gravity is a matter of warping spacetime – has endured more than 100 years of investigation and testing, including the latest test from collaboration with Event Horizon Telescope, now published in the latest issue of Physical Review Letters.

According to the findings, Einstein’s theory was only 500 times more difficult to defeat.

Despite its successes, Einstein’s solid theory remains mathematically indelible in the mechanics of the whole, the scientific understanding of the subatomic world. The test of general humanity is important because the final theory of the universe must cover both gravity and quantum mechanics.

“We expect a complete theory of gravity to differ from general relativity, but there are many ways to change this one. We have learned that whatever the correct theory, it may not differ from general relativity when it comes to blacks. hole. We are really squeezing the space of possible changes, “said UArizona astrophysics professor Dimitrios Psaltis, who is still a project of scientific collaboration with Event Horizon Telescope. Psaltis is the lead author of a new paper detailing the findings of the researchers.

“This is a brand new way to test overall reliability using the supermassive black hole,” said Keiichi Asada, a member of the EHT science council and expert in black hole radio observations for Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Black Hole Shadow Test

The visualization of the new gauge was developed to test the predictions of the modified gravity theories against measuring the shadow size of the M87. Credit: D. Psaltis, UArizona; EHT Collaboration

To perform the test, the team used the first image taken by a supermassive black hole in the middle of a nearby galaxy M87 captured at EHT last year. Preliminary results showed that the size of the black hole shadow was consistent with the size predicted by overall independence.

“At that time, we were unable to ask the opposite question: How different is a theory of gravity from general relativity and be consistent with the size of the shadow?” said UArizona Steward Theory Fellow Pierre Christian. “We wonder if we can do anything with these observations to eliminate some of the successors.”

The team made an immense analysis of many changes in the theory of general reliability to identify the unique characteristic of a gravity theory that determines the size of a black hole shadow.

“In this way, we can determine if some successor to the overall relativity agrees with the observations of the Event Horizon Telescope, without worrying about any other details,” said Lia Medeiros, a fellow postdoctoral in Institute for Advanced Study that has been part of the partnership with EHT since he was a graduate student at UArizona.

Gravity Strength

The description of the different strengths of the gravitational fields tested by cosmological, solar-system and black-hole experiments. Credit: D. Psaltis, UArizona; NASA / WMAP; ESA / Cassini; EHT Collaboration

The team is committed to the set of successors who have passed all previous tests on the solar system.

“Using the gauge we developed, we showed that the measured size of the black shadow hole on the M87 restricts room for changes in Einstein’s theory of general relativity by almost a factor of 500, compared to previous tests. in the solar system, “said UAE astronomy professor Feryal Özel, a senior member of the EHT collaboration. “Many ways to change overall reliability will fail with this new and more stringent black hole shadow test.”

“The black hole images provide a completely new angle for testing Einstein’s theory of general relativity,” said Michael Kramer, director of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and partner of the EHT collaboration.

“Along with gravitational wave observations, this marks the beginning of a new era in black hole astrophysics,” Psaltis said.

The test of gravity theory is an ongoing adventure: Are the general predictions of reliability for various astrophysical objects good enough for astrophysicists not to worry about any potential differences or change in general relations?

“We always say that overall relativity has passed all the tests with colors flying – if I had a thousand every time I heard that,” Özel said. “But really, when you do some testing, you don’t see that the results deviate from the predictions of general relativity. What we are saying is that while all of that is correct, for the first time we have a variety another gauge where we can do a test 500 times better, and that gauge is the size of the shadow of a black hole. “

Next, the EHT team expects higher fidelity images to be obtained by the expanded range of telescopes, which include the Greenland Telescope, the 12-meter Telescope at Kitt Peak near Tucson, and the Northern Extended Millimeter Array Observatory in France.

“When we get an image of the black hole in the center of our own galaxy, we can prevent deviations from overall relativity even further,” Özel said.

Is Einstein still right, then?

Reference: October 1, 2020, Physical Review Letters.
DOI: 10.1103 / PhysRevLett.125.141104

The international collaboration of Event Horizon Telescope announced the first image of a black hole in the middle of the radio galaxy Messier 87 on April 10, 2019 by creating a virtual telescope the size of Earth. Supported by large international investments, EHT links existing telescopes that use novel systems – creating a new instrument with the highest angular resolution power still achieved.

The individual telescopes involved in the EHT collaboration are: the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA), the Atacama Pathfinder EXplorer (APEX), the Greenland Telescope (from 2018), the IRAM 30-meter Telescope, the NOEMA Observatory (expected 2021), the Kitt Peak Telescope (expected 2021), the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) , the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT), the Submillimeter Array (SMA), the Submillimeter Telescope (SMT), and the South Pole Telescope (SPT).

The EHT consortium consists of 13 stakeholder institutes; the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the University of Arizona, the University of Chicago, the East Asian Observatory, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Goethe-Universita? t Frankfurt, the Institut de Radioastronomie Millime? trique, the Large Millimeter Telescope, the Max-Planck-Institut fu? r Radioastronomie, the MAY The Haystack Observatory, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and the Radboud University.




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