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First Sagittarius A* Event Horizon Telescope Results. IV. Variability, Morphology, and Black Hole Mass

Authors
  • Akiyama, Kazunori
  • Alberdi, Antxon
  • Alef, Walter
  • Algaba, Juan Carlos
  • Anantua, Richard
  • Asada, Keiichi
  • Azulay, Rebecca
  • Bach, Uwe
  • Baczko, Anne-Kathrin
  • Ball, David
  • Baloković, Mislav
  • Barrett, John
  • Bauböck, Michi
  • Benson, Bradford A.
  • Bintley, Dan
  • Blackburn, Lindy
  • Blundell, Raymond
  • Bouman, Katherine L.
  • Bower, Geoffrey C.
  • Boyce, Hope
  • And 249 more
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Astrophysical Journal
Publisher
American Astronomical Society
Publication Date
May 01, 2022
Volume
930
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ac6736
Source
ioppublishing
Disciplines
  • 330
  • High-Energy Phenomena and Fundamental Physics
License
Unknown

Abstract

In this paper we quantify the temporal variability and image morphology of the horizon-scale emission from Sgr A*, as observed by the EHT in 2017 April at a wavelength of 1.3 mm. We find that the Sgr A* data exhibit variability that exceeds what can be explained by the uncertainties in the data or by the effects of interstellar scattering. The magnitude of this variability can be a substantial fraction of the correlated flux density, reaching ∼100% on some baselines. Through an exploration of simple geometric source models, we demonstrate that ring-like morphologies provide better fits to the Sgr A* data than do other morphologies with comparable complexity. We develop two strategies for fitting static geometric ring models to the time-variable Sgr A* data; one strategy fits models to short segments of data over which the source is static and averages these independent fits, while the other fits models to the full data set using a parametric model for the structural variability power spectrum around the average source structure. Both geometric modeling and image-domain feature extraction techniques determine the ring diameter to be 51.8 ± 2.3 μas (68% credible intervals), with the ring thickness constrained to have an FWHM between ∼30% and 50% of the ring diameter. To bring the diameter measurements to a common physical scale, we calibrate them using synthetic data generated from GRMHD simulations. This calibration constrains the angular size of the gravitational radius to be 4.8−0.7+1.4 μas, which we combine with an independent distance measurement from maser parallaxes to determine the mass of Sgr A* to be 4.0−0.6+1.1×106 M ⊙.

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