Shadow Geometry of Kerr Naked Singularities

Bao Nguyen, Pierre Christian, Chi Kwan Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Direct imaging of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) at event horizon-scale resolutions, as recently done by the Event Horizon Telescope, allows for testing alternative models to SMBHs such as Kerr naked singularities (KNSs). We demonstrate that the KNS shadow can be closed, open, or vanishing, depending on the spins and observational inclination angles. We study the critical parameters where the KNS shadow opens a gap, a distinctive phenomenon that does not happen with the black hole shadow. We show that the KNS shadow can only be closed for dimensionless spin a 2 1.18 and vanishing for a 3 1.18 for certain ranges of inclination angles. We further analyze the effective angular momentum of photon orbits to demonstrate the fundamental connections between light geodesics and the KNS shadow geometry. We also perform numerical general relativistic ray-tracing calculations, which reproduce the analytical topological change in the KNS shadow, and illustrate other observational features within the shadow due to the lack of an event horizon. By comparing the geometric features of the KNS shadow with black hole shadow observations, the topological change in the shadow of KNSs can be used to test the cosmic censorship hypothesis and KNSs as alternative models to SMBHs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number78
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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