PRIMARY BLACK HOLE SPIN IN OJ 287 AS DETERMINED BY THE GENERAL RELATIVITY CENTENARY FLARE


Valtonen M. J. , Zola S., Ciprini S., Gopakumar A., Matsumoto K., Sadakane K., ...More

ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL LETTERS, vol.819, no.2, 2016 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 819 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.3847/2041-8205/819/2/l37
  • Title of Journal : ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL LETTERS
  • Keywords: black hole physics, quasars: general, quasars: individual (OJ 287), quasars: supermassive black holes, OJ287, TELESCOPE, MASSES, OJ-287, MODEL

Abstract

OJ 287 is a quasi-periodic quasar with roughly 12 year optical cycles. It displays prominent outbursts that are predictable in a binary black hole model. The model predicted a major optical outburst in 2015 December. We found that the outburst did occur within the expected time range, peaking on 2015 December 5 at magnitude 12.9 in the optical R-band. Based on Swift/XRT satellite measurements and optical polarization data, we find that it included a major thermal component. Its timing provides an accurate estimate for the spin of the primary black hole, chi = 0.313 +/- 0.01. The present outburst also confirms the established general relativistic properties of the system such as the loss of orbital energy to gravitational radiation at the 2% accuracy level, and it opens up the possibility of testing the black hole no-hair theorem with 10% accuracy during the present decade.