Not all spacetime coordinates for general-relativistic ray tracing are created equal

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Models for the observational appearance of astrophysical black holes rely critically on accurate general-relativistic ray tracing and radiation transport to compute the intensity measured by a distant observer. In this paper, we illustrate how the choice of coordinates and initial conditions affect this process. In particular, we show that propagating rays from the camera to the source leads to different solutions if the spatial part of the momentum of the photon points towards the horizon or away from it. In doing this, we also show that coordinates that are well suited for numerical general-relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) simulations are typically not optimal for generic ray tracing. We discuss the implications for black hole images and show that radiation transport in optimal and nonoptimal spacetime coordinates lead to the same images up to numerical errors and algorithmic choices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number084004
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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