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Title: Polarization swings reveal magnetic energy dissipation in blazars

The polarization signatures of blazar emissions are known to be highly variable. In addition to small fluctuations of the polarization angle around a mean value, large (≳ 180°) polarization angle swings are observed. We suggest that such phenomena can be interpreted as arising from light-travel-time effects within an underlying axisymmetric emission region. We present the first simultaneous fitting of the multi-wavelength spectrum, variability, and time-dependent polarization features of a correlated optical and gamma-ray flaring event of the prominent blazar 3C279, which was accompanied by a drastic change in its polarization signatures. This unprecedented combination of spectral, variability, and polarization information in a coherent physical model allows us to place stringent constraints on the particle acceleration and magnetic-field topology in the relativistic jet of a blazar, strongly favoring a scenario in which magnetic energy dissipation is the primary driver of the flare event.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [4]
  1. Ohio Univ., Athens, OH (United States); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Univ. of Potsdam, Potsdam-Golm (Germany); DESY, Zeuthen (Germany)
  3. North-West Univ., Potchefstroom (South Africa); Ohio Univ., Athens, OH (United States)
  4. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: The Astrophysical Journal (Online); Journal Volume: 804; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS Astronomy and Astrophysics