O. M. Kurtanidze

Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Are you O. M. Kurtanidze?

Claim your profile

Publications (152)270.27 Total impact

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A flare from the TeV blazar Mrk 421, occurring in March 2010, was observed for 13 consecutive days from radio to very high energy (VHE; E > 100 GeV) gamma-rays with MAGIC, VERITAS, Whipple, FermiLAT, MAXI, RXTE, Swift, GASP-WEBT, and several optical and radio telescopes. We model the day-scale SEDs with one-zone and two-zone synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) models, investigate the physical parameters, and evaluate whether the observed broadband SED variability can be associated to variations in the relativistic particle population. Flux variability was remarkable in the X-ray and VHE bands while it was minor or not significant in the other bands. The one-zone SSC model can describe reasonably well the SED of each day for the 13 consecutive days. This flaring activity is also very well described by a two-zone SSC model, where one zone is responsible for the quiescent emission while the other smaller zone, which is spatially separated from the first one, contributes to the daily-variable emission occurring in X-rays and VHE gamma-rays. Both the one-zone SSC and the two-zone SSC models can describe the daily SEDs via the variation of only four or five model parameters, under the hypothesis that the variability is associated mostly to the underlying particle population. This shows that the particle acceleration and cooling mechanism producing the radiating particles could be the main one responsible for the broadband SED variations during the flaring episodes in blazars. The two-zone SSC model provides a better agreement to the observed SED at the narrow peaks of the low- and high-energy bumps during the highest activity, although the reported one-zone SSC model could be further improved by the variation of the parameters related to the emitting region itself ($\delta$, $B$ and $R$), in addition to the parameters related to the particle population.
    12/2014;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mrk 501 is one of the brightest blazars at TeV energies and has been extensively studied since its first VHE detection in 1996. Our goal is to characterize in detail the source gamma-ray emission, together with the radio-to-X-ray emission, during the non-flaring (low) activity, which is less often studied than the occasional flaring (high) activity. We organized a multiwavelength (MW) campaign on Mrk 501 between March and May 2008. This multi-instrument effort included the most sensitive VHE gamma-ray instruments in the northern hemisphere, namely the imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes MAGIC and VERITAS, as well as Swift, RXTE, the F-GAMMA, GASP-WEBT, and other collaborations and instruments. Mrk 501 was found to be in a low state of activity during the campaign, with a VHE flux in the range of 10%-20% of the Crab nebula flux. Nevertheless, significant flux variations were detected with various instruments, with a trend of increasing variability with energy. The broadband spectral energy distribution during the two different emission states of the campaign can be adequately described within the homogeneous one-zone synchrotron self-Compton model, with the (slightly) higher state described by an increase in the electron number density. This agrees with previous studies of the broadband emission of this source during flaring and non-flaring states. We report for the first time a tentative X-ray-to-VHE correlation during a low VHE activity. Although marginally significant, this positive correlation between X-ray and VHE, which has been reported many times during flaring activity, suggests that the mechanisms that dominate the X-ray/VHE emission during non-flaring-activity are not substantially different from those that are responsible for the emission during flaring activity.
    10/2014;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The discovery of rapidly variable Very High Energy (VHE; E > 100 GeV) γ-ray emission from 4C +21.35 (PKS 1222+216) by MAGIC on 2010 June 17, triggered by the high activity detected by the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) in high energy (HE; E > 100 MeV) γ-rays, poses intriguing questions on the location of the γ-ray emitting region in this flat spectrum radio quasar (FSRQ). We present multifrequency data of 4C +21.35 collected from centimeter to VHE during 2010 to investigate the properties of this source and discuss a possible emission model. The first hint of detection at VHE was observed by MAGIC on 2010 May 3, soon after a γ-ray flare detected by Fermi-LAT that peaked on April 29. The same emission mechanism may therefore be responsible for both the HE and VHE emission during the 2010 flaring episodes. Two optical peaks were detected on 2010 April 20 and June 30, close in time but not simultaneous with the two γ-ray peaks, while no clear connection was observed between the X-ray and γ-ray emission. An increasing flux density was observed in radio and mm bands from the beginning of 2009, in accordance with the increasing γ-ray activity observed by Fermi-LAT, and peaking on 2011 January 27 in the mm regime (230 GHz). We model the spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of 4C +21.35 for the two periods of the VHE detection and a quiescent state, using a one-zone model with the emission coming from a very compact region outside the broad line region. The three SEDs can be fit with a combination of synchrotron self-Compton and external Compton emission of seed photons from a dust torus, changing only the electron distribution parameters between the epochs. The fit of the optical/UV part of the spectrum for 2010 April 29 seems to favor an inner disk radius of <6 gravitational radii, as one would expect from a prograde-rotating Kerr black hole.
    The Astrophysical Journal 04/2014; · 6.28 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Among more than fifty blazars detected in very high energy (VHE, E>100GeV) gamma-rays, only three belong to the subclass of Flat Spectrum Radio Quasars (FSRQs). MAGIC observed FSRQ PKS 1510-089 in February-April 2012 during a high activity state in the high energy (HE, E>100 MeV) gamma-ray band observed by AGILE and Fermi. MAGIC observations result in the detection of a source with significance of 6.0 sigma. In agreement with the previous VHE observations of the source, we find no statistically significant variability during the MAGIC observations in daily, weekly or monthly time scales. The other two known VHE FSRQs have shown daily scale to sub-hour variability. We study the multifrequency behaviour of the source at the epoch of MAGIC observation, collecting quasi-simultaneous data at radio and optical (GASP-WEBT and F-Gamma collaborations, REM, Steward, Perkins, Liverpool, OVRO and VLBA telescopes), X-ray (Swift satellite) and HE gamma-ray frequencies. The gamma-ray SED combining AGILE, Fermi and MAGIC data joins smoothly and shows no hint of a break. The multifrequency light curves suggest a common origin for the millimeter radio and HE gamma-ray emission and the HE gamma-ray flaring starts when the new component is ejected from the 43GHz VLBA core. The quasi-simultaneous multifrequency SED is modelled with a one-zone inverse Compton model. We study two different origins of the seed photons for the inverse Compton scattering, namely the infra-red torus and a slow sheath surrounding the jet around the VLBA core. Both models fit the data well. However, the fast HE gamma-ray variability requires that within the modelled large emitting region, there must exist more compact regions. We suggest that these observed signatures would be most naturally explained by a turbulent plasma flowing at a relativistic speed down the jet and crossing a standing conical shock.
    01/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We analyze the multifrequency behavior of the quasar 3C 454.3 during three prominent \gamma-ray outbursts: 2009 Autumn, 2010 Spring, and 2010 Autumn. The data reveal a repeating pattern, including a triple flare structure, in the properties of each \gamma-ray outburst, which implies similar mechanism(s) and location for all three events. The multi-frequency behavior indicates that the lower frequency events are co-spatial with the \gamma-ray outbursts, although the \gamma-ray emission varies on the shortest timescales. We determine that the variability from UV to IR wavelengths during an outburst results from a single synchrotron component whose properties do not change significantly over the different outbursts. Despite a general increase in the degree of optical linear polarization during an outburst, the polarization drops significantly at the peak of the \gamma-ray event, which suggests that both shocks and turbulent processes are involved. We detect two disturbances (knots) with superluminal apparent speeds in the parsec-scale jet associated with the outbursts in 2009 Autumn and 2010 Autumn. The kinematic properties of the knots can explain the difference in amplitudes of the \gamma-ray events, while their millimeter-wave polarization is related to the optical polarization during the outbursts. We interpret the multi-frequency behavior within models involving either a system of standing conical shocks or magnetic reconnection events located in the parsec-scale millimeter-wave core of the jet. We argue that \gamma-ray outbursts with variability timescales as short as ~ 3 hr can occur on parsec scales if flares take place in localized regions such as turbulent cells.
    The Astrophysical Journal 07/2013; 773(2). · 6.28 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present observations of a major outburst at centimeter, millimeter, optical, X-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths of the BL Lacertae object AO 0235+164 in 2008. We analyze the timing of multi-waveband variations in the flux and linear polarization, as well as changes in Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) images at 7mm with ~0.15 milliarcsecond resolution. The association of the events at different wavebands is confirmed at high statistical significance by probability arguments and Monte-Carlo simulations. A series of sharp peaks in optical linear polarization, as well as a pronounced maximum in the 7mm polarization of a superluminal jet knot, indicate rapid fluctuations in the degree of ordering of the magnetic field. These results lead us to conclude that the outburst occurred in the jet both in the quasi-stationary core and in the superluminal knot, both at >12 parsecs downstream of the supermassive black hole. We interpret the outburst as a consequence of the propagation of a disturbance, elongated along the line of sight by light-travel time delays, that passes through a standing recollimation shock in the core and propagates down the jet to create the superluminal knot. The multi-wavelength light curves vary together on long time-scales (months/years), but the correspondence is poorer on shorter time-scales. This, as well as the variability of the polarization and the dual location of the outburst, agrees with the expectations of a multi-zone emission model in which turbulence plays a major role in modulating the synchrotron and inverse Compton fluxes.
    03/2013;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We report results from a 1 week multi-wavelength campaign to monitor the BL Lac object S5 0716+714 (on December 9-16, 2009). In the radio bands the source shows rapid (~ (0.5-1.5) day) intra-day variability with peak amplitudes of up to ~ 10 %. The variability at 2.8 cm leads by about 1 day the variability at 6 cm and 11 cm. This time lag and more rapid variations suggests an intrinsic contribution to the source's intraday variability at 2.8 cm, while at 6 cm and 11 cm interstellar scintillation (ISS) seems to predominate. Large and quasi-sinusoidal variations of ~ 0.8 mag were detected in the V, R and I-bands. The X-ray data (0.2-10 keV) do not reveal significant variability on a 4 day time scale, favoring reprocessed inverse-Compton over synchrotron radiation in this band. The characteristic variability time scales in radio and optical bands are similar. A quasi-periodic variation (QPO) of 0.9 - 1.1 days in the optical data may be present, but if so it is marginal and limited to 2.2 cycles. Cross-correlations between radio and optical are discussed. The lack of a strong radio-optical correlation indicates different physical causes of variability (ISS at long radio wavelengths, source intrinsic origin in the optical), and is consistent with a high jet opacity and a compact synchrotron component peaking at ~= 100 GHz in an ongoing very prominent flux density outburst. For the campaign period, we construct a quasi-simultaneous spectral energy distribution (SED), including gamma-ray data from the FERMI satellite. We obtain lower limits for the relativistic Doppler-boosting of delta >= 12-26, which for a BL\,Lac type object, is remarkably high.
    07/2012;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The quasar-type blazar 4C 38.41 (B3 1633+382) experienced a large outburst in 2011, which was detected throughout the entire electromagnetic spectrum. We present the results of low-energy multifrequency monitoring by the GASP project of the WEBT consortium and collaborators, as well as those of spectropolarimetric/spectrophotometric monitoring at the Steward Observatory. We also analyse high-energy observations of the Swift and Fermi satellites. In the optical-UV band, several results indicate that there is a contribution from a QSO-like emission component, in addition to both variable and polarised jet emission. The unpolarised emission component is likely thermal radiation from the accretion disc that dilutes the jet polarisation. We estimate its brightness to be R(QSO) ~ 17.85 - 18 and derive the intrinsic jet polarisation degree. We find no clear correlation between the optical and radio light curves, while the correlation between the optical and \gamma-ray flux apparently fades in time, likely because of an increasing optical to \gamma-ray flux ratio. As suggested for other blazars, the long-term variability of 4C 38.41 can be interpreted in terms of an inhomogeneous bent jet, where different emitting regions can change their alignment with respect to the line of sight, leading to variations in the Doppler factor \delta. Under the hypothesis that in the period 2008-2011 all the \gamma-ray and optical variability on a one-week timescale were due to changes in \delta, this would range between ~ 7 and ~ 21. If the variability were caused by changes in the viewing angle \theta\ only, then \theta\ would go from ~ 2.6 degr to ~ 5 degr. Variations in the viewing angle would also account for the dependence of the polarisation degree on the source brightness in the framework of a shock-in-jet model.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 07/2012; 545. · 4.48 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The blazar AO 0235+164 (z = 0.94) has been one of the most active objects observed by Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) since its launch in Summer 2008. In addition to the continuous coverage by Fermi, contemporaneous observations were carried out from the radio to {\gamma} -ray bands between 2008 September and 2009 February. In this paper, we summarize the rich multi-wavelength data collected during the campaign (including F-GAMMA, GASP- WEBT, Kanata, OVRO, RXTE, SMARTS, Swift, and other instruments), examine the cross-correlation between the light curves measured in the different energy bands, and interpret the resulting spectral energy distributions in the context of well-known blazar emission models. We find that the {\gamma} -ray activity is well correlated with a series of near-IR/optical flares, accompanied by an increase in the optical polarization degree. On the other hand, the X-ray light curve shows a distinct 20 day high state of unusually soft spectrum, which does not match the extrapolation of the optical/UV synchrotron spectrum. We tentatively interpret this feature as the bulk Compton emission by cold electrons contained in the jet, which requires an accretion disk corona with an effective covering factor of 19% at a distance of 100 Rg . We model the broadband spectra with a leptonic model with external radiation dominated by the infrared emission from the dusty torus.
    The Astrophysical Journal 07/2012; 751(2). · 6.28 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present time-resolved broad-band observations of the quasar 3C 279 obtained from multi-wavelength campaigns conducted during the first two years of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope mission. While investigating the previously reported gamma-ray/optical flare accompanied by a change in optical polarization, we found that the optical emission appears delayed with respect to the gamma-ray emission by about 10 days. X-ray observations reveal a pair of `isolated' flares separated by ~90 days, with only weak gamma-ray/optical counterparts. The spectral structure measured by Spitzer reveals a synchrotron component peaking in the mid-infrared band with a sharp break at the far-infrared band during the gamma-ray flare, while the peak appears in the mm/sub-mm band in the low state. Selected spectral energy distributions are fitted with leptonic models including Comptonization of external radiation produced in a dusty torus or the broad-line region. Adopting the interpretation of the polarization swing involving propagation of the emitting region along a curved trajectory, we can explain the evolution of the broad-band spectra during the gamma-ray flaring event by a shift of its location from ~ 1 pc to ~ 4 pc from the central black hole. On the other hand, if the gamma-ray flare is generated instead at sub-pc distance from the central black hole, the far-infrared break can be explained by synchrotron self-absorption. We also model the low spectral state, dominated by the mm/sub-mm peaking synchrotron component, and suggest that the corresponding inverse-Compton component explains the steady X-ray emission.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2012; 754(2). · 6.28 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We locate the gamma-ray and lower frequency emission in flares of the BL Lac object AO 0235+164 at >12pc in the jet of the source from the central engine. We employ time-dependent multi-spectral-range flux and linear polarization monitoring observations, as well as ultra-high resolution (~0.15 milliarcsecond) imaging of the jet structure at lambda=7mm. The time coincidence in the end of 2008 of the propagation of the brightest superluminal feature detected in AO 0235+164 (Qs) with an extreme multi-spectral-range (gamma-ray to radio) outburst, and an extremely high optical and 7mm (for Qs) polarization degree provides strong evidence supporting that all these events are related. This is confirmed at high significance by probability arguments and Monte-Carlo simulations. These simulations show the unambiguous correlation of the gamma-ray flaring state in the end of 2008 with those in the optical, millimeter, and radio regime, as well as the connection of a prominent X-ray flare in October 2008, and of a series of optical linear polarization peaks, with the set of events in the end of 2008. The observations are interpreted as the propagation of an extended moving perturbation through a re-collimation structure at the end of the jet's acceleration and collimation zone.
    International Journal of Modern Physics Conference Series. 12/2011;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Context. The blazar 3C 454.3 is one of the most active sources from the radio to the γ-ray frequencies observed in the past few years. Aims. We present multiwavelength observations of this source from April 2008 to March 2010. The radio to optical data are mostly from the GASP-WEBT, UV and X-ray data from Swift, and γ-ray data from the AGILE and Fermi satellites. The aim is to understand the connection among emissions at different frequencies and to derive information on the emitting jet. Methods. Light curves in 18 bands were carefully assembled to study flux variability correlations. We improved the calibration of optical–UV data from the UVOT and OM instruments and estimated the Lyα flux to disentangle the contributions from different components in this spectral region. Results. The observations reveal prominent variability above 8 GHz. In the optical–UV band, the variability amplitude decreases with increasing frequency due to a steadier radiation from both a broad line region and an accretion disc. The optical flux reaches nearly the same levels in the 2008–2009 and 2009–2010 observing seasons; the mm one shows similar behaviour, whereas the γ and X-ray flux levels rise in the second period. Two prominent γ-ray flares in mid 2008 and late 2009 show a double-peaked structure, with a variable γ/optical flux ratio. The X-ray flux variations seem to follow the γ-ray and optical ones by about 0.5 and 1 d, respectively. Conclusions. We interpret the multifrequency behaviour in terms of an inhomogeneous curved jet, where synchrotron radiation of increasing wavelength is produced in progressively outer and wider jet regions, which can change their orientation in time. In particular, we assume that the long-term variability is due to this geometrical effect. By combining the optical and mm light curves to fit the γ and X-ray ones, we find that the γ (X-ray) emission may be explained by inverse-Comptonisation of synchrotron optical (IR) photons by their parent relativistic electrons (SSC process). A slight, variable misalignment between the synchrotron and Comptonisation zones would explain the increased γ and X-ray flux levels in 2009–2010, as well as the change in the γ/optical flux ratio during the outbursts peaks. The time delays of the X-ray flux changes after the γ, and optical ones are consistent with the proposed scenario.
    J. Heidt S. G. Jorstad. 08/2011; 181921722626(22).
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: For more than 15 years, since the days of the Energetic Gamma-Ray Experiment Telescope (EGRET) on board the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (CGRO; 1991-2000), it has remained an open question why the prominent blazar 3C 345 was not reliably detected at gamma-ray energies <=20 MeV. Recently a bright gamma-ray source (0FGL J1641.4+3939/1FGL J1642.5+3947), potentially associated with 3C 345, was detected by the Large Area Telescope (LAT) on Fermi. Multiwavelength observations from radio bands to X-rays (mainly GASP-WEBT and Swift) of possible counterparts (3C 345, NRAO 512, B3 1640+396) were combined with 20 months of Fermi-LAT monitoring data (August 2008 - April 2010) to associate and identify the dominating gamma-ray emitting counterpart of 1FGL J1642.5+3947. The source 3C 345 is identified as the main contributor for this gamma-ray emitting region. However, after November 2009 (15 months), a significant excess of photons from the nearby quasar NRAO 512 started to contribute and thereafter was detected with increasing gamma-ray activity, possibly adding flux to 1FGL J1642.5+3947. For the same time period and during the summer of 2010, an increase of radio, optical and X-ray activity of NRAO 512 was observed. No gamma-ray emission from B3 1640+396 was detected.
    Astronomy & Astrophysics - ASTRON ASTROPHYS. 07/2011; 532.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Since 2005, the blazar 3C 454.3 has shown remarkable flaring activity at all frequencies, and during the last four years it has exhibited more than one γ-ray flare per year, becoming the most active γ-ray blazar in the sky. We present for the first time the multi-wavelength AGILE, Swift, INTEGRAL, and GASP-WEBT data collected in order to explain the extraordinary γ-ray flare of 3C 454.3 which occurred in 2010 November. On 2010 November 20 (MJD 55520), 3C 454.3 reached a peak flux (E >100 MeV) of Fp γ = (6.8 ± 1.0) × 10–5 photons cm–2 s–1 on a timescale of about 12 hr, more than a factor of six higher than the flux of the brightest steady γ-ray source, the Vela pulsar, and more than a factor of three brighter than its previous super-flare on 2009 December 2-3. The multi-wavelength data make possible a thorough study of the present event: the comparison with the previous outbursts indicates a close similarity to the one that occurred in 2009. By comparing the broadband emission before, during, and after the γ-ray flare, we find that the radio, optical, and X-ray emission varies within a factor of 2-3, whereas the γ-ray flux by a factor of 10. This remarkable behavior is modeled by an external Compton component driven by a substantial local enhancement of soft seed photons.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 07/2011; 736(2):L38. · 5.60 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present multiwavelength observations of 3C 454.3 from April 2008 to March 2010. The radio to optical data are mostly from the GASP-WEBT, UV and X-ray data from Swift, and gamma-ray data from the AGILE and Fermi satellites. We improved the calibration of optical-UV data from the UVOT and OM instruments and estimated the Lyalpha flux to disentangle the contributions from different components in this spectral region. The observations reveal prominent variability above 8 GHz. In the optical-UV band, the variability amplitude decreases with increasing frequency due to a steadier radiation from both a broad line region and an accretion disc. The optical flux reaches nearly the same levels in the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 observing seasons; the mm one shows similar behaviour, whereas the gamma and X-ray flux levels rise in the second period. Two prominent gamma-ray flares in mid 2008 and late 2009 show a double-peaked structure, with a variable gamma/optical flux ratio. The X-ray flux variations seem to follow the gamma-ray and optical ones by about 0.5 and 1 d, respectively. We interpret the multifrequency behaviour in terms of an inhomogeneous curved jet, where synchrotron radiation of increasing wavelength is produced in progressively outer and wider jet regions, which can change their orientation in time. In particular, we assume that the long-term variability is due to this geometrical effect. By combining the optical and mm light curves to fit the gamma and X-ray ones, we find that the gamma (X-ray) emission may be explained by inverse-Comptonisation of synchrotron optical (IR) photons by their parent relativistic electrons (SSC process). A slight, variable misalignment between the synchrotron and Comptonisation zones would explain the increased gamma and X-ray flux levels in 2009-2010, as well as the change in the gamma/optical flux ratio during the outbursts peaks.
    Astronomy & Astrophysics - ASTRON ASTROPHYS. 07/2011; 534.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present observations of a major outburst at centimeter, millimeter, optical, X-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths of the BL Lacertae object AO 0235+164. We analyze the timing of multi-waveband variations in the flux and linear polarization, as well as changes in Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) images at 7mm with 0.15 milliarcsecond resolution. The association of the events at different wavebands is confirmed at high statistical significance by probability arguments and Monte-Carlo simulations. A series of sharp peaks in optical linear polarization, as well as a pronounced maximum in the 7 mm polarization of a superluminal jet knot, indicate rapid fluctuations in the degree of ordering of the magnetic field. These results lead us to conclude that the outburst occurred in the jet both in the quasi-stationary "core" and in the superluminal knot, both parsecs downstream of the supermassive black hole. We interpret the outburst as a consequence of the propagation of a disturbance, elongated along the line of sight by light-travel time delays, that passes through a standing recollimation shock in the core and propagates down the jet to create the superluminal knot. The multi-wavelength light curves vary together on long time-scales (months/years), but the correspondence is poorer on shorter time-scales. This, as well as the variability of the polarization and the dual location of the outburst, agrees with the expectations of a multi-zone emission model in which turbulence plays a major role in modulating the synchrotron and inverse Compton fluxes.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 05/2011; 735(1). · 5.60 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We report on the extreme gamma-ray activity from the FSRQ PKS 1510-089 observed by AGILE in March 2009. In the same period a radio-to-optical monitoring of the source was provided by the GASP-WEBT and REM. Moreover, several Swift ToO observations were triggered, adding important information on the source behaviour from optical/UV to hard X-rays. We paid particular attention to the calibration of the Swift/UVOT data to make it suitable to the blazars spectra. Simultaneous observations from radio to gamma rays allowed us to study in detail the correlation among the emission variability at different frequencies and to investigate the mechanisms at work. In the period 9-30 March 2009, AGILE detected an average gamma-ray flux of (311+/-21)x10^-8 ph cm^-2 s^-1 for E>100 MeV, and a peak level of (702+/-131)x10^-8 ph cm^-2 s^-1 on daily integration. The gamma-ray activity occurred during a period of increasing activity from near-IR to UV, with a flaring episode detected on 26-27 March 2009, suggesting that a single mechanism is responsible for the flux enhancement observed from near-IR to UV. By contrast, Swift/XRT observations seem to show no clear correlation of the X-ray fluxes with the optical and gamma-ray ones. However, the X-ray observations show a harder photon index (1.3-1.6) with respect to most FSRQs and a hint of harder-when-brighter behaviour, indicating the possible presence of a second emission component at soft X-ray energies. Moreover, the broad band spectrum from radio-to-UV confirmed the evidence of thermal features in the optical/UV spectrum of PKS 1510-089 also during high gamma-ray state. On the other hand, during 25-26 March 2009 a flat spectrum in the optical/UV energy band was observed, suggesting an important contribution of the synchrotron emission in this part of the spectrum during the brightest gamma-ray flare, therefore a significant shift of the synchrotron peak.
    Astronomy & Astrophysics - ASTRON ASTROPHYS. 03/2011; 529.
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics 01/2011; 534:87. · 4.48 Impact Factor
  • åp. 12/2010; 524:A43.

Publication Stats

2k Citations
270.27 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2010
    • Boston University
      • Institute for Astrophysical Research
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • Pennsylvania State University
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      University Park, Maryland, United States
  • 2009
    • The Astronomical Observatory of Brera
      Merate, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2007
    • Georgian National Academy of Sciences
      Tbilsi, T'bilisi, Georgia
  • 1999
    • Università degli Studi di Perugia
      • Department of Physics
      Terni, Umbria, Italy