On the prospects of imaging Sagittarius A∗ from space

Freek Roelofs, Heino Falcke, Christiaan Brinkerink, Monika Moscibrodzka, Leonid I. Gurvits, Manuel Martin-Neira, Volodymyr Kudriashov, Marc Klein-Wolt, Remo Tilanus, More Authors

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Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) at sub-millimeter waves has the potential to image the shadow of the black hole in the Galactic Center, Sagittarius A∗ (Sgr A∗), and thereby test basic predictions of the theory of general relativity. We investigate the imaging prospects of a new Space VLBI mission concept. The setup consists of two satellites in polar or equatorial circular Medium-Earth Orbits with slightly different radii, resulting in a dense spiral-shaped uv-coverage with long baselines, allowing for extremely high-resolution and high-fidelity imaging of radio sources. We simulate observations of a general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics model of Sgr A∗ for this configuration with noise calculated from model system parameters. After gridding the uv-plane and averaging visibilities accumulated over multiple months of integration, images of Sgr A∗ with a resolution of up to 4 μ as could be reconstructed, allowing for stronger tests of general relativity and accretion models than with ground-based VLBI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-28
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Galaxy: center
  • techniques: high angular resolution
  • techniques: interferometric

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