Horizon-scale tests of gravity theories and fundamental physics from the Event Horizon Telescope image of Sagittarius A ∗

Sunny Vagnozzi, Rittick Roy, Yu Dai Tsai, Luca Visinelli, Misba Afrin, Alireza Allahyari, Parth Bambhaniya, Dipanjan Dey, Sushant G. Ghosh, Pankaj S. Joshi, Kimet Jusufi, Mohsen Khodadi, Rahul Kumar Walia, Ali Övgün, Cosimo Bambi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Horizon-scale images of black holes (BHs) and their shadows have opened an unprecedented window onto tests of gravity and fundamental physics in the strong-field regime. We consider a wide range of well-motivated deviations from classical general relativity (GR) BH solutions, and constrain them using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observations of Sagittarius A ∗ (Sgr A ∗ ), connecting the size of the bright ring of emission to that of the underlying BH shadow and exploiting high-precision measurements of Sgr A ∗ ’s mass-to-distance ratio. The scenarios we consider, and whose fundamental parameters we constrain, include various regular BHs, string-inspired space-times, violations of the no-hair theorem driven by additional fields, alternative theories of gravity, novel fundamental physics frameworks, and BH mimickers including well-motivated wormhole and naked singularity space-times. We demonstrate that the EHT image of Sgr A ∗ places particularly stringent constraints on models predicting a shadow size larger than that of a Schwarzschild BH of a given mass, with the resulting limits in some cases surpassing cosmological ones. Our results are among the first tests of fundamental physics from the shadow of Sgr A ∗ and, while the latter appears to be in excellent agreement with the predictions of GR, we have shown that a number of well-motivated alternative scenarios, including BH mimickers, are far from being ruled out at present.

Original languageEnglish
Article number165007
JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
Issue number16
StatePublished - 31 Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • black hole shadows
  • black holes
  • naked singularities
  • tests of gravity
  • wormholes


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