Stationary black holes and light rings

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Pedro Cunha (AEI, Germany)

Discussion on the paper "Stationary black holes and light rings", ArXiv:2003.06445 to appear in Physical Review Letters, as an Editor's Suggestion. The ringdown and shadow of the astrophysically significant Kerr Black Hole (BH) are both intimately connected to a special set of bound null orbits known as Light Rings (LRs). Does it hold that a generic equilibrium BH must possess such orbits? In this letter we prove the following theorem. A stationary, axi-symmetric, asymptotically flat black hole spacetime in 1+3 dimensions, with a non-extremal, topologically spherical, Killing horizon admits, at least, one standard LR outside the horizon for each rotation sense. The proof relies on a topological argument and assumes C2-smoothness and circularity, but makes no use of the field equations. The argument is also adapted to recover a previous theorem establishing that a horizonless ultra-compact object must admit an even number of non-degenerate LRs, one of which is stable.