Self-lensing flares from black hole binaries II: observing black hole shadows via light-curve tomography

10 Dec 2021  ·  Jordy Davelaar, Zoltán Haiman ·

Supermassive black hole (BH) binaries are thought to produce self-lensing flares (SLF) when the two BHs are aligned with the line-of-sight. If the binary orbit is observed nearly edge-on, we find a distinct feature in the light curve imprinted by the BH shadow from the lensed BH. We study this feature by ray-tracing in a binary model and predict that 1\% of the current binary candidates could show this feature. Our BH tomography method proposed here could make it possible to extract BH shadows that are spatially unresolvable by high-resolution VLBI.

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology