γ-Ray and Parsec-scale Jet Properties of a Complete Sample of Blazars From the MOJAVE Program

The Astrophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 6.28). 11/2011; 742(1):27. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/742/1/27

ABSTRACT We investigate the Fermi Large Area Telescope γ-ray and 15 GHz Very Long Baseline Array radio properties of a joint γ-ray and radio-selected sample of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) obtained during the first 11 months of the Fermi mission (2008 August 4-2009 July 5). Our sample contains the brightest 173 AGNs in these bands above declination –30° during this period, and thus probes the full range of γ-ray loudness (γ-ray to radio band luminosity ratio) in the bright blazar population. The latter quantity spans at least 4 orders of magnitude, reflecting a wide range of spectral energy distribution (SED) parameters in the bright blazar population. The BL Lac objects, however, display a linear correlation of increasing γ-ray loudness with synchrotron SED peak frequency, suggesting a universal SED shape for objects of this class. The synchrotron self-Compton model is favored for the γ-ray emission in these BL Lac objects over external seed photon models, since the latter predict a dependence of Compton dominance on Doppler factor that would destroy any observed synchrotron SED-peak-γ-ray-loudness correlation. The high-synchrotron peaked (HSP) BL Lac objects are distinguished by lower than average radio core brightness temperatures, and none display large radio modulation indices or high linear core polarization levels. No equivalent trends are seen for the flat-spectrum radio quasars (FSRQs) in our sample. Given the association of such properties with relativistic beaming, we suggest that the HSP BL Lac objects have generally lower Doppler factors than the lower-synchrotron peaked BL Lac objects or FSRQs in our sample.

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    ABSTRACT: Since the launch of the Fermi satellite, BL Lacertae has been moderately active at γ-rays and optical frequencies until 2011 May, when the source started a series of strong flares. The exceptional optical sampling achieved by the GLAST-AGILE Support Program of the Whole Earth Blazar Telescope in collaboration with the Steward Observatory allows us to perform a detailed comparison with the daily γ-ray observations by Fermi. Discrete correlation analysis between the optical and γ-ray emission reveals correlation with a time lag of 0 ± 1 d, which suggests cospatiality of the corresponding jet emitting regions. A better definition of the time lag is hindered by the daily gaps in the sampling of the extremely fast flux variations. In general, optical flares present more structure and develop on longer time-scales than corresponding γ-ray flares. Observations at X-rays and at millimetre wavelengths reveal a common trend, which suggests that the region producing the mm and X-ray radiation is located downstream from the optical and γ-ray-emitting zone in the jet. The mean optical degree of polarization slightly decreases over the considered period and in general it is higher when the flux is lower. The optical electric vector polarization angle (EVPA) shows a preferred orientation of about 15°, nearly aligned with the radio core EVPA and mean jet direction. Oscillations around it increase during the 2011-2012 outburst. We investigate the effects of a geometrical interpretation of the long-term flux variability on the polarization. A helical magnetic field model predicts an evolution of the mean polarization that is in reasonable agreement with the observations. These can be fully explained by introducing slight variations in the compression factor in a transverse shock waves model.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 12/2013; 436(2):1530-1545. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present results from four years of twice-weekly 15 GHz radio monitoring of about 1500 blazars with the Owens Valley Radio Observatory 40 m telescope. Using the intrinsic modulation index to measure variability amplitude, we find that, with $>/!6/sigma$ significance, the radio variability of radio-selected gamma-ray-loud blazars is stronger than that of gamma-ray-quiet blazars. Our extended data set also includes at least 21 months of data for all AGN with `clean' associations in the Fermi Large Area Telescope First AGN catalogue, 1LAC. With these additional data we examine the radio variability properties of a gamma-ray-selected blazar sample. Within this sample, we find no evidence for a connection between radio variability amplitude and optical classification. In contrast, for our radio-selected sample we find that the BL Lac object subpopulation is more variable than the flat spectrum radio quasar (FSRQ) subpopulation. Radio variability is found to correlate with the synchrotron peak frequency, with low- and intermediate-synchrotron-peaked blazars varying less than high-synchrotron-peaked ones. We find evidence for a significant negative correlation between redshift and radio variability among bright FSRQs.
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    ABSTRACT: We investigate the nature and classification of PMNJ1603-4904, a bright radio source close to the Galactic plane, which is associated with one of the brightest hard-spectrum gamma-ray sources detected by Fermi/LAT. It has previously been classified as a low-peaked BL Lac object based on its broadband emission and the absence of optical emission lines. Optical measurements, however, suffer strongly from extinction and the absence of pronounced short-time gamma-ray variability over years of monitoring is unusual for a blazar. We are combining new and archival multiwavelength data in order to reconsider the classification and nature of this unusual gamma-ray source. For the first time, we study the radio morphology at 8.4GHz and 22.3GHz, and its spectral properties on milliarcsecond (mas) scales, based on VLBI observations from the TANAMI program. We combine the resulting images with multiwavelength data in the radio, IR, optical/UV, X-ray, and gamma-ray regimes. PMNJ1603-4904 shows a symmetric brightness distribution at 8.4GHz on mas-scales, with the brightest, and most compact component in the center of the emission region. The morphology is reminiscent of a Compact Symmetric Object (CSO). Such objects have been predicted to produce gamma-ray emission but have not been detected as a class by Fermi/LAT so far. Sparse (u, v)-coverage at 22.3GHz prevents an unambiguous modeling of the source morphology. IR measurements reveal an excess in the spectral energy distribution (SED), which can be modeled with a blackbody with a temperature of about 1600K, and which is usually not present in blazar SEDs. The VLBI data and the shape of the SED challenge the current blazar classification. PMNJ1603-4904 seems to be either a highly peculiar BL Lac object or a misaligned jet source. In the latter case, the intriguing VLBI structure opens room for a possible classification as a gamma-ray bright CSO.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 12/2013; 562. · 4.48 Impact Factor

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Eduardo Ros