Primary black hole spin in oj 287 AS determined by the general relativity centenary flare

M. J. Valtonen, S. Zola, S. Ciprini, A. Gopakumar, K. Matsumoto, K. Sadakane, M. Kidger, K. Gazeas, K. Nilsson, A. Berdyugin, V. Piirola, H. Jermak, K. S. Baliyan, F. Alicavus, D. Boyd, M. Campas Torrent, F. Campos, J. Carrillo Gómez, D. B. Caton, V. ChavushyanJ. Dalessio, B. Debski, D. Dimitrov, M. Drozdz, H. Er, A. Erdem, A. Escartin Pérez, V. Fallah Ramazani, A. V. Filippenko, S. Ganesh, F. Garcia, F. Gómez Pinilla, M. Gopinathan, J. B. Haislip, R. Hudec, G. Hurst, K. M. Ivarsen, M. Jelinek, A. Joshi, M. Kagitani, N. Kaur, W. C. Keel, A. P. Lacluyze, B. C. Lee, E. Lindfors, J. Lozano De Haro, J. P. Moore, M. Mugrauer, R. Naves Nogues, A. W. Neely, R. H. Nelson, W. Ogloza, S. Okano, J. C. Pandey, M. Perri, P. Pihajoki, G. Poyner, J. Provencal, T. Pursimo, A. Raj, D. E. Reichart, R. Reinthal, S. Sadegi, T. Sakanoi, J. L. Salto González, Sameer, T. Schweyer, M. Siwak, F. C. Soldán Alfaro, E. Sonbas, I. Steele, J. T. Stocke, J. Strobl, L. O. Takalo, T. Tomov, L. Tremosa Espasa, J. R. Valdes, J. Valero Pérez, F. Verrecchia, J. R. Webb, M. Yoneda, M. Zejmo, W. Zheng, J. Telting, J. Saario, T. Reynolds, A. Kvammen, E. Gafton, R. Karjalainen, J. Harmanen, P. Blay

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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, . 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL37
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 10


  • Black hole physics
  • quasars: general
  • quasars: individual (OJ.,Q287)
  • quasars: supermassive black holes


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