Radio imaging of the very-high-energy gamma-ray emission region in the central engine of a radio galaxy.

Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Amado, AZ 85645, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.48). 08/2009; 325(5939):444-8. DOI: 10.1126/science.1175406
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The accretion of matter onto a massive black hole is believed to feed the relativistic plasma jets found in many active galactic nuclei (AGN). Although some AGN accelerate particles to energies exceeding 10(12) electron volts and are bright sources of very-high-energy (VHE) gamma-ray emission, it is not yet known where the VHE emission originates. Here we report on radio and VHE observations of the radio galaxy Messier 87, revealing a period of extremely strong VHE gamma-ray flares accompanied by a strong increase of the radio flux from its nucleus. These results imply that charged particles are accelerated to very high energies in the immediate vicinity of the black hole.

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    ABSTRACT: We investigate the production of ultra-high-energy cosmic ray (UHECR) in relativistic jets from low-luminosity active galactic nuclei (LLAGN). We start by proposing a model for the UHECR contribution from the black holes (BHs) in LLAGN, which present a jet power $P_{\mathrm{j}} \leqslant 10^{46}$ erg s$^{-1}$. This is in contrast to the opinion that only high-luminosity AGN can accelerate particles to energies $ \geqslant 50$ EeV. We rewrite the equations which describe the synchrotron self-absorbed emission of a non-thermal particle distribution to obtain the observed radio flux density from sources with a flat-spectrum core and its relationship to the jet power. We find that the UHECR flux is dependent on the {\it observed radio flux density, the distance to the AGN, and the BH mass}, where the particle acceleration regions can be sustained by the magnetic energy extraction from the BH at the center of the AGN. We use a complete sample of 29 radio sources with a total flux density at 5 GHz greater than 0.5 Jy to make predictions for the maximum particle energy, luminosity, and flux of the UHECRs from nearby AGN. These predictions are then used in a semi-analytical code developed in Mathematica (SAM code) as inputs for the Monte-Carlo simulations to obtain the distribution of the arrival direction at the Earth and the energy spectrum of the UHECRs, taking into account their deflection in the intergalactic magnetic fields. For comparison, we also use the CRPropa code with the same initial conditions as for the SAM code. Importantly, to calculate the energy spectrum we also include the weighting of the UHECR flux per each UHECR source. Next, we compare the energy spectrum of the UHECRs with that obtained by the Pierre Auger Observatory.
    Astroparticle Physics 09/2014; 62. DOI:10.1016/j.astropartphys.2014.09.007 · 4.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Supermassive black holes with masses of millions to billions of solar masses are commonly found in the centers of galaxies. Astronomers seek to image jet formation using radio interferometry but still suffer from insufficient angular resolution. An alternative method to resolve small structures is to measure the time variability of their emission. Here we report on gamma-ray observations of the radio galaxy IC 310 obtained with the MAGIC telescopes, revealing variability with doubling time scales faster than 4.8 min. Causality constrains the size of the emission region to be smaller than 20% of the gravitational radius of its central black hole. We suggest that the emission is associated with pulsar-like particle acceleration by the electric field across a magnetospheric gap at the base of the radio jet.
    Science 11/2014; 346(6213). DOI:10.1126/science.1256183 · 31.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Context. The well known radiogalaxy CenA has been recently detected as a source of very high energy (VHE) gamma-rays by the HESS experiment just before Fermi/LAT detected it at high energies (HE). The detection, together with that of M 87, established radiogalaxies as VHE gamma-ray emitters. Aims. The aim of this work is to present a lepto-hadronic model for the VHE emission from the relativistic jets in FR I radiogalaxies. Methods. We consider that protons and electrons are accelerated in a compact region near the base of the jet, and they cool emitting multi wavelength radiation as propagating along the jet. The proton and electron distributions are obtained through steady-state transport equation taking into account acceleration, radiative and non-radiative cooling processes, as well as particle transport by convection. Results. Considering the effects of photon absorption at different wavelengths, we calculate the radiation emitted by the primary protons and electrons, as well as the contribution of secondaries particles (e(perpendicular to), pi s and mu s). The expected high-energy neutrino signal is also obtained and the possibility of detections with KM3NeT and IceCube is discussed. Conclusions. The spectral energy distribution obtained in our model with an appropriate set of parameters for an extended emission zone can account for much of the observed spectra for both AGNs.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 07/2011; 531:A30. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201014998 · 4.48 Impact Factor

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