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Imaging an event horizon: Mitigation of scattering toward Sagittarius a

  • Author(s): Fish, VL
  • Johnson, MD
  • Lu, RS
  • Doeleman, SS
  • Bouman, KL
  • Zoran, D
  • Freeman, WT
  • Psaltis, D
  • Narayan, R
  • Pankratius, V
  • Broderick, AE
  • Gwinn, CR
  • Vertatschitsch, LE
  • et al.
Abstract

The image of the emission surrounding the black hole in the center of the Milky Way is predicted to exhibit the imprint of general relativistic (GR) effects, including the existence of a shadow feature and a photon ring of diameter 50 μas. Structure on these scales can be resolved by millimeter-wavelength very long baseline interferometry. However, strong-field GR features of interest will be blurred at λ ≥ 1.3 mm due to scattering by interstellar electrons. The scattering properties are well understood over most of the relevant range of baseline lengths, suggesting that the scattering may be (mostly) invertible. We simulate observations of a model image of Sgr A∗ and demonstrate that the effects of scattering can indeed be mitigated by correcting the visibilities before reconstructing the image. This technique is also applicable to Sgr A∗ at longer wavelengths.

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