Testing General Relativity with Accretion-Flow Imaging of Sgr A∗

Tim Johannsen, Carlos Wang, Avery E. Broderick, Sheperd S. Doeleman, Vincent L. Fish, Abraham Loeb, Dimitrios Psaltis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The Event Horizon Telescope is a global, very long baseline interferometer capable of probing potential deviations from the Kerr metric, which is believed to provide the unique description of astrophysical black holes. Here, we report an updated constraint on the quadrupolar deviation of Sagittarius A∗ within the context of a radiatively inefficient accretion flow model in a quasi-Kerr background. We also simulate near-future constraints obtainable by the forthcoming eight-station array and show that in this model already a one-day observation can measure the spin magnitude to within 0.005, the inclination to within 0.09°, the position angle to within 0.04°, and the quadrupolar deviation to within 0.005 at 3σ confidence. Thus, we are entering an era of high-precision strong gravity measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number091101
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 24 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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