The present paper is a sequel to our previous work [Y. Ni et al., JCAP 1607, 049 (2016)] in which we studied the iron K$\alpha$ line expected in the reflection spectrum of Kerr black holes with scalar hair. These metrics are solutions of Einstein's gravity minimally coupled to a massive, complex scalar field. They form a continuous bridge between a subset of Kerr black holes and a family of rotating boson stars depending on one extra parameter, the dimensionless scalar hair parameter $q$, ranging from 0 (Kerr black holes) to 1 (boson stars). Here we study the limiting case $q=1$, corresponding to rotating boson stars. For comparison, spherical boson stars are also considered. We simulate observations with XIS/Suzaku. Using the fact that current observations are well fit by the Kerr solution and thus requiring that acceptable alternative compact objects must be compatible with a Kerr fit, we find that some boson star solutions are relatively easy to rule out as potential candidates to explain astrophysical black holes, while other solutions, which are neither too dilute nor too compact are more elusive and we argue that they cannot be distinguished from Kerr black holes by the analysis of the iron line with current X-ray facilities.
We present the first X-ray reflection model for testing the assumption that the metric of astrophysical black holes is described by the Kerr solution. We employ the formalism of the transfer function proposed by Cunningham. The calculations of the reflection spectrum of a thin accretion disk are split into two parts: the calculation of the transfer function and the calculation of the local spectrum at any emission point in the disk. The transfer function only depends on the background metric and takes into account all the relativistic effects (gravitational redshift, Doppler boosting, and light bending). Our code computes the transfer function for a spacetime described by the Johannsen metric and can easily be extended to any stationary, axisymmetric, and asymptotically flat spacetime. Transfer functions and single line shapes in the Kerr metric are compared with those calculated from existing codes to check that we reach the necessary accuracy. We also simulate some observations with NuSTAR and LAD/eXTP and fit the data with our new model to show the potential capabilities of current and future observations to constrain possible deviations from the Kerr metric.
Recently, a family of hairy black holes in 4-dimensional Einstein gravity minimally coupled to a complex, massive scalar field was discovered~\citehbh. Besides the mass $M$ and spin angular momentum $J$, these objects are characterized by a Noether charge $Q$, measuring the amount of scalar hair, which is not associated to a Gauss law and cannot be measured at spatial infinity. Introducing a dimensionless scalar hair parameter $q$, ranging from 0 to 1, we recover (a subset of) Kerr black holes for $q=0$ and a family of rotating boson stars for $q=1$. In the present paper, we explore the possibility of measuring $q$ for astrophysical black holes with current and future X-ray missions. We study the iron K$\alpha$ line expected in the reflection spectrum of such hairy black holes and we simulate observations with Suzaku and eXTP. As a proof of concept, we point out, by analyzing a sample of hairy black holes, that current observations can already constrain the scalar hair parameter $q$, because black holes with $q$ close to 1 would have iron lines definitively different from those we observe in the available data. We conclude that a detailed scanning of the full space of solutions, together with data from the future X-ray missions, like eXTP, will be able to put relevant constraints on the astrophysical realization of Kerr black holes with scalar hair.
Recently, two of us have found numerically rotating Ellis wormholes as solutions of 4-dimensional Einstein gravity coupled to a phantom field. In this paper, we investigate possible observational signatures to identify similar objects in the Universe. These symmetric wormholes have a mass and are compact, so they may look like black holes. We study the iron line profile in the X-ray reflection spectrum of a thin accretion disk around rotating Ellis wormholes and we find some specific observational signatures that can be used to distinguish these objects from Kerr black holes. We simulate some observations with XIS/Suzaku assuming typical parameters for a bright AGN and we conclude that current X-ray missions cannot apply strong constraints.
The recent announcement of the detection of gravitational waves by the LIGO/Virgo collaboration has opened a new window to test the nature of astrophysical black holes. Konoplya & Zhidenko have shown how the LIGO data of GW 150914 can constrain possible deviations from the Kerr metric. In this letter, we compare their constraints with those that can be obtained from accreting black holes by fitting their reflected X-ray spectrum, the so-called iron line method. We simulate observations with eXTP, a next generation X-ray mission, finding constraints much stronger than those obtained by Konoplya & Zhidenko. Our results can at least show that, contrary to what is quite commonly believed, it is not obvious that gravitational waves are the most powerful approach to test strong gravity. In the presence of high quality data and with the systematics under control, the iron line method may provide competitive constraints.
Recently, two of us have studied iron line reverberation mapping to test black hole candidates, showing that the time information in reverberation mapping can better constrain the Kerr metric than the time-integrated approach. Motivated by this finding, here we explore the constraining power of another time-dependent measurement: an AGN iron line eclipse. An obscuring cloud passes between the AGN and the distant observer, covering different parts of the accretion disk at different times. Similar to the reverberation measurement, an eclipse might help to better identify the relativistic effects affecting the X-ray photons. However, this is not what we find. In our study, we employ the Johannsen-Psaltis parametrisation, but we argue that our conclusions hold in a large class of non-Kerr metrics. We explain our results pointing out an important difference between reverberation and eclipse measurements.
We reconsider the problem of $f(R)$ theories of gravity coupled to Born-Infeld theory of electrodynamics formulated in a Palatini approach, where metric and connection are independent fields. By studying electrovacuum configurations in a static and spherically symmetric space-time, we find solutions which reduce to their Reissner-Nordström counterparts at large distances but undergo important non-perturbative modifications close to the center. Our new analysis reveals that the point-like singularity is replaced by a finite-size wormhole structure, which provides a geodesically complete and thus nonsingular space-time, despite the existence of curvature divergences at the wormhole throat. Implications of these results, in particular for the cosmic censorship conjecture, are discussed.
Oct 17 2014 gr-qc
In this paper we calculate the strong field limit deflection angle for a light ray passing near a scalar charged spherically symmetric object, described by a metric which comes from the low-energy limit of heterotic string theory. Then, we compare the expansion parameters of our results with those obtained in the Einstein's canonical frame, obtained by a conformal transformation, and we show that, at least at first order, the results do not agree.
This article has been withdrawn by arXiv admins due to excessive reuse of content from other authors. We also note that this article has been retracted from Physics Letters B at http://doi.org/10.1016/j.physletb.2015.03.024