Cosimo Bambi

Cosimo Bambi
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Cosimo Bambi
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General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (49)
 
High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (38)
 
High Energy Physics - Theory (6)
 
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (2)
 
Mathematics - Mathematical Physics (1)
 
Mathematical Physics (1)

Publications Authored By Cosimo Bambi

We present the results of a multi-epoch and multi-instrument study of the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy MCG-05-23-16 aiming at the determination of its spin. We have analyzed high quality X-ray data of MCG-05-23-16 from XMM-Newton, Suzaku, and NuSTAR obtained over a period of about 10~years. We have built a double-reflection spectral model that well describes the observed spectrum based on prior results suggesting that the iron K$\alpha$ line includes both a broad component from the disk's reflection spectrum and a narrow component due to fluorescence and scattering off material by more distant matter. Read More

We continue our study on the capabilities of present and future X-ray missions to test the nature of astrophysical black hole candidates via X-ray reflection spectroscopy and distinguish Kerr black holes from other solutions of 4-dimensional Einstein's gravity in the presence of a matter field. Here we investigate the case of Kerr black holes with Proca hair [1]. The analysis of a sample of these configurations suggests that even extremely hairy black holes can mimic the iron line profile of the standard Kerr black holes, and, at least for the configurations of our study, we find that current X-ray missions cannot distinguish these objects from Kerr black holes. Read More

Conformal gravity can elegantly solve the problem of spacetime singularities present in Einstein's gravity. For every physical spacetime, there is an infinite family of conformally-equivalent singularity-free metrics. In the unbroken phase, every non-singular metric is equivalent and can be used to infer the physical properties of the spacetime. Read More

Weyl conformal symmetry can solve the problem the spacetime singularities present in Einstein's gravity. In a recent paper, two of us have found a singularity-free rotating black hole solution in conformal gravity. In addition to the mass $M$ and the spin angular momentum $J$ of the black hole, the new solution has a new parameter, $L$, which here we consider to be proportional to the black hole mass. Read More

X-ray reflection spectroscopy can be a powerful tool to test the nature of astrophysical black holes. Extending previous work on Kerr black holes with scalar hair [1] and on boson stars [2], here we study whether astrophysical black hole candidates may be horizonless, self-gravitating, vector Bose-Einstein condensates, known as Proca stars [3]. We find that observations with current X-ray missions can only provide weak constraints and rule out solely Proca stars with low compactness. Read More

We study the formation and the evaporation of a spherically symmetric black hole in conformal gravity. From the collapse of a spherically symmetric thin shell of radiation, we find a singularity-free non-rotating black hole. This black hole has the same Hawking temperature as a Schwarzschild black hole with the same mass, and it completely evaporates either in a finite or in an infinite time, depending on the ensemble. Read More

We derive and study an approximate static vacuum solution generated by a point-like source in a higher derivative gravitational theory with a pair of complex conjugate ghosts. The gravitational theory is local and characterized by a high derivative operator compatible with Lee-Wick unitarity. In particular, the tree-level two-point function only shows a pair of complex conjugate poles besides the massless spin two graviton. Read More

We explicitly prove that the Weyl conformal symmetry solves the black hole singularity problem, otherwise unavoidable in a generally covariant local or non-local gravitational theory. Moreover, we yield explicit examples of local and non-local theories enjoying Weyl and diffeomorphism symmetry (in short co-covariant theories). Following the seminal paper by Narlikar and Kembhavi, we provide an explicit construction of singularity-free spherically symmetric and axi-symmetric exact solutions for black hole spacetimes conformally equivalent to the Schwarzschild or the Kerr spacetime. Read More

In a recent paper [Ghasemi-Nodehi & Bambi, EPJC 76 (2016) 290], we have proposed a new parametrization for testing the Kerr nature of astrophysical black hole candidates. In the present work, we study the possibility of constraining the "Kerr parameters" of our proposal using X-ray reflection spectroscopy, the so-called iron line method. We simulate observations with the LAD instrument on board of the future eXTP mission assuming an exposure time of 200~ks. Read More

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. Read More

We consider electrovacuum black hole spacetimes in classical extensions of Eddington-inspired Born-Infeld gravity. By rewriting Born-Infeld action as the square root of the determinant of a matrix $\hat{\Omega}$, we consider the family of models $f (|\hat{\Omega}|)$, and study black hole solutions for a power-law family of models labelled by a simple parameter. We show how the innermost structure of the corresponding black holes is modified as compared to their General Relativity counterparts, discussing in which cases a wormhole structure replaces the point-like singularity. Read More

The spacetime geometry around astrophysical black holes is supposed to be well approximated by the Kerr metric, but deviations from the Kerr solution are predicted in a number of scenarios involving new physics. Broad iron K$\alpha$ lines are commonly observed in the X-ray spectrum of black holes and originate by X-ray fluorescence of the inner accretion disk. The profile of the iron line is sensitively affected by the spacetime geometry in the strong gravity region and can be used to test the Kerr black hole hypothesis. Read More

We present a code to construct 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. Read More

According to the Blandford-Znajek mechanism, black hole jets are powered by the rotational energy of the compact object. In this work, we consider the possibility that the metric around black holes may not be described by the Kerr solution and we study how this changes the Blandford-Znajek model. If the Blandford-Znajek mechanism is responsible for the formation of jets, the estimate of the jet power in combination with another measurement can test the nature of black hole candidates and constrain possible deviations from the Kerr solution. Read More

Recently, a family of hairy black holes in 4-dimensional Einstein gravity minimally coupled to a complex, massive scalar field was discovered~\cite{hbh}. 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 $q=1$. Read More

We propose a new parametrization for testing the Kerr nature of astrophysical black hole candidates. The common approaches focus on the attempt to constrain possible deviations from the Kerr solution described by new terms in the metric. Here we adopt a different perspective. Read More

QPOs are a common feature in the X-ray power density spectrum of black hole binaries and a potentially powerful tool to probe the spacetime geometry around these objects. Here we discuss their constraining power to test the Kerr black hole hypothesis within the relativistic precession model. We compare our results with the constraints that can be obtained from gravitational waves and iron line. Read More

In a previous paper, we studied the interior solution of a collapsing body in a non-local theory of gravity super-renormalizable at the quantum level. We found that the classical singularity is replaced by a bounce, after which the body starts expanding. A black hole, strictly speaking, never forms. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

The iron K$\alpha$ line commonly observed in the X-ray spectrum of black hole candidates is produced by X-ray fluorescence of the inner accretion disk. This line can potentially be quite a powerful tool to probe the spacetime geometry around these objects and test the Kerr black hole hypothesis. In a previous paper, we studied the ability to constrain possible deviations from the Kerr solution from the standard time-integrated iron line spectrum within the Cardoso-Pani-Rico framework. Read More

We discuss a parametrization to describe possible deviations from the Kerr metric and test astrophysical black hole candidates with electromagnetic radiation. Our metric is a very simple generalization of the Kerr solution with two main properties: $i)$ the phenomenology is quite rich and, for example, it can describe black holes with high Novikov-Thorne radiative efficiency or black holes of very small size; $ii)$ it is suitable for the numerical calculations required to study the spectrum of thin disks. The latter point is our principal motivation to study such a kind of parametrization, because in the analysis of real data there are usually several parameters to fit and the problem with current non-Kerr metrics is that the calculation times are too long. Read More

The continuum-fitting and the iron line methods are leading techniques capable of probing the spacetime geometry around astrophysical black hole candidates and testing the no-hair theorem. In the present paper, we review the two approaches, from the astrophysical models and their assumptions, to the constraining power with present and future facilities. Read More

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-Nordstr\"om 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. Read More

Astrophysical black hole candidates are thought to be the Kerr black holes of general relativity, but there is not yet direct observational evidence that the spacetime geometry around these objects is described by the Kerr solution. The study of the properties of the electromagnetic radiation emitted by gas or stars orbiting these objects can potentially test the Kerr black hole hypothesis. In this paper, I review the state of the art of this research field, describing the possible approaches to test the Kerr metric with current and future observational facilities and discussing current constraints. Read More

We study the excitation of axial quasi-normal modes of deformed non-rotating black holes by test-particles and we compare the associated gravitational wave signal with that expected in general relativity from a Schwarzschild black hole. Deviations from standard predictions are quantified by an effective deformation parameter, which takes into account deviations from both the Schwarzschild metric and the Einstein equations. We show that, at least in the case of non-rotating black holes, it is possible to test the metric around the compact object, in the sense that the measurement of the gravitational wave spectrum can constrain possible deviations from the Schwarzschild solution. Read More

We consider metric-affine scenarios where a modified gravitational action is sourced by electrovacuum fields in a three dimensional space-time. Such scenarios are supported by the physics of crystalline structures with microscopic defects and, in particular, those that can be effectively treated as bi-dimensional (like graphene). We first study the case of $f(R)$ theories, finding deviations near the center as compared to the solutions of General Relativity. Read More

Within 5-10 years, submillimeter VLBI facilities will be hopefully able to image the "shadow" of SgrA$^*$. When a black hole is surrounded by an optically thin emitting medium, the boundary of the shadow corresponds to the apparent photon capture sphere and only depends on the background metric. An accurate determination of the shape of the shadow of SgrA$^*$ could constrain possible deviations from the Kerr solution. Read More

Astrophysical black hole candidates are thought to be the Kerr black holes of general relativity, but the actual nature of these objects has still to be confirmed. The continuum-fitting and the iron line methods are currently the only available techniques to probe the spacetime geometry around these bodies and test the Kerr black hole paradigm. The continuum-fitting method is a robust approach, but the shape of the disk's thermal spectrum is in general too simple to measure the spin and to constrain possible deviations from the Kerr solution at the same time. Read More

We study the shadow of the Cardoso-Pani-Rico (CPR) black hole for different values of the black hole spin $a_*$, the deformation parameters $\epsilon_3^t$ and $\epsilon_3^r$, and the viewing angle $i$. We find that the main impact of the deformation parameter $\epsilon_3^t$ is the change of the size of the shadow, while the deformation parameter $\epsilon_3^r$ affects the shape of its boundary. In general, it is impossible to test the Kerr metric, because the shadow of a Kerr black hole can be reproduced quite well by a black hole with non-vanishing $\epsilon_3^t$ or $\epsilon_3^r$. Read More

SgrA$^*$ is the supermassive black hole candidate at the center of the Galaxy and an ideal laboratory to test general relativity. Following previous work by other authors, we use the Polish doughnut model to describe an optically thin and constant angular momentum ion torus in hydrodynamical equilibrium and model the accretion structure around SgrA$^*$. The radiation mechanisms are bremsstrahlung, synchrotron emission, and inverse Compton scattering. Read More

Black holes in X-ray binaries are often assumed to be rotating perpendicular to the plane of the accretion disk and parallel to the orbital plane of the binary. While the Bardeen-Petterson effect forces the inner part of the accretion disk to be aligned with the equatorial plane of a spinning black hole, the disk may be warped such that the inclination angle of the outer part is different from that of the inner part. In this paper, we identify a possible observational signature of a warped accretion disk in the spectrum of the polarization degree of the continuum. Read More

It is thought that the spacetime geometry around black hole candidates is described by the Kerr solution, but an observational confirmation is still missing. Today, the continuum-fitting method and the analysis of the iron K$\alpha$ line cannot unambiguously test the Kerr paradigm because of the degeneracy among the parameters of the system, in the sense that it is impossible with current X-ray data to distinguish a Kerr black hole from a non-Kerr object with different values of the model parameters. In this paper, we study the possibility of testing the Kerr nature of black hole candidates with X-ray spectropolarimetric measurements. Read More

We consider a magnetic flux pointing in the $z$ direction of an axially symmetric space-time (Melvin Universe) in a Born-Infeld-type extension of General Relativity (GR) formulated in the Palatini approach. Large magnetic fields could have been produced in the early Universe, and given rise to interesting phenomenology regarding wormholes and black hole remnants. We find a formal analytic solution to this problem that recovers the GR result in the appropriate limits. Read More

The iron K$\alpha$ line commonly observed in the X-ray spectrum of both stellar-mass and supermassive black hole candidates originates from X-ray fluorescence of the inner accretion disk. Accordingly, it can be used to map the spacetime geometry around these objects. In this paper, we extend previous work using the iron K$\alpha$ line to test the Kerr black hole hypothesis. Read More

In a collisional Penrose process, two particles coming from the asymptotically flat region collide in the ergosphere of a compact object. The collision produces two new particles, one with positive energy and one with negative energy. When the particle with positive energy escapes to infinity, the process extracts energy from the compact object. Read More

It is widely believed that the spin of black holes in X-ray binaries is mainly natal. A significant spin-up from accretion is not possible. If the secondary has a low mass, the black hole spin cannot change too much even if the black hole swallows the whole stellar companion. Read More

We study the collision of two particles in the Teo wormhole spacetime, in which the wormhole is stationary and axisymmetric. We show that a non-rotating Teo wormhole cannot be a particle accelerator, while a rotating Teo wormhole can be used to accelerate particles and create high energy collisions because of the deep effective potential of the colliding particles. The process is different from that in the vicinity of a near-extremal black hole, since here there is no event horizon. Read More

SgrA$^*$, the supermassive black hole candidate at the Galactic Center, exhibits flares in the X-ray, NIR, and sub-mm bands that may be interpreted within a hot spot model. Light curves and images of hot spots orbiting a black hole are affected by a number of special and general relativistic effects, and they can be potentially used to check whether the object is a Kerr black hole of general relativity. However, in a previous study we have shown that the relativistic features are usually subdominant with respect to the background noise and the model-dependent properties of the hot spot, and eventually it is at most possible to estimate the frequency of the innermost stable circular orbit. Read More

SgrA$^*$, the supermassive black hole candidate at the center of our Galaxy, seems to be one of the most promising object to test the Kerr black hole hypothesis with near future observations. In a few years, it will hopefully be possible to measure a number of relativistic effects around this body, and the combination of different observations can be used to constrain possible deviations from the Kerr solution. In this paper, I discuss the combination of three promising techniques in the framework of the Cardoso-Pani-Rico parametrization: the observation of blobs of plasma orbiting near the innermost stable circular orbit, the detection of the black hole shadow, and timing observations of a radio pulsar in a compact orbit. Read More

The construction of a generic parametrization to describe the spacetime geometry around astrophysical black hole candidates is an important step to test the Kerr black hole hypothesis. In the last few years, the Johannsen-Psaltis metric has been the most common framework to study possible deviations from the Kerr solution with present and near future observations. Recently, Cardoso, Pani and Rico have proposed a more general parametrization. Read More

The iron K$\alpha$ line commonly observed in the X-ray spectrum of both stellar-mass and supermassive black hole candidates is produced by the illumination of a cold accretion disk by a hot corona. In this framework, the activation of a new flaring region in the hot corona imprints a time variation on the iron line spectrum. Future X-ray facilities with high time resolution and large effective areas may be able to measure the so-called 2-dimensional transfer function; that is, the iron line profile detected by a distant observer as a function of time in response to an instantaneous flare from the X-ray primary source. Read More

The spin measurement of black holes has important implications in physics and astrophysics. Regardless of the specific technique to estimate the black hole spin, all the current approaches assume that the space-time geometry around the compact object is exactly described by the Kerr solution. This is clearly an approximation, because the Kerr metric is a stationary solution of the vacuum Einstein equations. Read More

In a previous paper, some of us studied general relativistic homogeneous gravitational collapses for dust and radiation, in which the density profile was replaced by an effective density justified by some quantum gravity models. It was found that the effective density introduces an effective pressure that becomes negative and dominant in the strong-field regime. With this set-up, the central singularity is replaced by a bounce, after which the cloud starts expanding. Read More

The supermassive black hole candidates at the center of every normal galaxy might be wormholes created in the early Universe and connecting either two different regions of our Universe or two different universes in a Multiverse model. Indeed, the origin of these supermassive objects is not well understood, topological non-trivial structures like wormholes are allowed both in general relativity and in alternative theories of gravity, and current observations cannot rule out such a possibility. In a few years, the VLTI instrument GRAVITY will have the capability to image blobs of plasma orbiting near the innermost stable circular orbit of SgrA$^*$, the supermassive black hole candidate in the Milky Way. Read More

In a previous paper, one of us has described a code to compute the thermal spectrum of geometrically thin and optically thick accretion disks around generic stationary and axisymmetric black holes, which are not necessarily of the Kerr type. As the structure of the accretion disk and the propagation of electromagnetic radiation from the disk to the distant observer depend on the background metric, the analysis of the thermal spectrum of thin disks can be used to test the actual nature of black hole candidates. In this paper, we consider the 10 stellar-mass black hole candidates for which the spin parameter has been already estimated from the analysis of the disk's thermal spectrum and under the assumption of the Kerr background, and we translate the measurements reported in the literature into constraints on the spin parameter--deformation parameter plane. Read More

Starting from the Oppenheimer-Snyder model, we know how in classical general relativity the gravitational collapse of matter form a black hole with a central spacetime singularity. It is widely believed that the singularity must be removed by quantum gravity effects. Some static quantum-inspired singularity-free black hole solutions have been proposed in the literature, but when one considers simple examples of gravitational collapse the classical singularity is replaced by a bounce, after which the collapsing matter expands for ever. Read More

Within 5-10 years, very-long baseline interferometry (VLBI) facilities will be able to directly image the accretion flow around SgrA$^*$, the super-massive black hole candidate at the center of the Galaxy, and observe the black hole "shadow". In 4-dimensional general relativity, the no-hair theorem asserts that uncharged black holes are described by the Kerr solution and are completely specified by their mass $M$ and by their spin parameter $a$. In this paper, we explore the possibility of distinguishing Kerr and Bardeen black holes from their shadow. Read More

We develop a non-singular bouncing cosmology using a non-trivial coupling of general relativity to fermionic fields. The usual Big Bang singularity is avoided thanks to a negative energy density contribution from the fermions. Our theory is ghost-free since the fermionic operator that generates the bounce is equivalent to torsion, which has no kinetic terms. Read More