We address the astrophysical imaging of a family of deformed Kerr black holes (BHs). These are stationary, asymptotically flat black hole (BH) spacetimes, that are solutions of General Relativity minimally coupled to a massive, complex scalar field: Kerr BHs with scalar hair (KBHsSH). Such BHs bifurcate from the vacuum Kerr solution and can be regarded as a horizon within a rotating boson star. In a recent letter, it was shown that KBHsSH can exhibit very distinct shadows from the ones of their vacuum counterparts. The setup therein, however, considered the light source to be a celestial sphere sufficiently far away from the BH. Here, we analyse KBHsSH surrounded by an emitting torus of matter, simulating a more realistic astrophysical environment, and study the corresponding lensing of light as seen by a very far away observer, to appropriately model ground-based observations of Sgr A*. We find that the differences in imaging between KBHsSH and comparable vacuum Kerr BHs remain, albeit less dramatic than those observed for the corresponding shadows in the previous setup. In particular, we highlight two observables that might allow differentiating KBHsSH and Kerr BHs. The first is the angular size of the photon ring (in a Kerr spacetime) or lensing ring (in a KBHSH spacetime), the latter being significantly smaller for sufficiently non-Kerr-like spacetimes. The second is the existence of an edge in the intensity distribution (the photon ring in Kerr spacetime). This edge can disappear for very non-Kerr-like KBHsSH. It is plausible, therefore, that sufficiently precise Very Long Baseline Interferometric observations of BH candidates can constrain this model.
F. Vincent, E. Gourgoulhon, C. Herdeiro, et. al.
Wed, 15 Jun 16
Comments: 17 pages, 8 figures, to be submitted to PRD