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Title: On the Nature of the Gamma-ray Source 2FGL J1823.8 4312: The Discovery of a New Class of Extragalactic X-ray Sources

Abstract

One of the unsolved mysteries of gamma-ray astronomy concerns the nature of the unidentified gamma-ray sources. Recently, using the Second Fermi LAT source catalog (2FGL) and the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) archive, we discovered that the WISE counterparts of gamma-ray blazars, a class of active galactic nuclei, delineate a region (the WISE Gamma-ray Strip) in the 3-dimensional infrared color space well separated from the locus of the other astronomical objects. Based on this result, we built an association procedure to recognize if there areWISE blazar candidates within the positional uncertainty region of the unidentified gamma-ray sources. Here we report on our analysis of 2FGL J1823.8+4312, a gamma-ray active galactic nucleus of uncertain type associated with the X-ray source 1RXS J182418.7+430954 according to the 2FGL, to verify whether it is a blazar. Applying our association method we found two sources with IR colors typical of gamma-ray blazars, located within the 99.9% confidence region of 2FGL J1823.8+4312: WISE J182352.33+431452.5 and WISE J182409.25+431404.7. Then we searched in the Chandra, NVSS and SDSS archival observations for their counterparts. We discovered that WISE J182352.33+431452.5, our preferred gamma-ray blazar candidate according to our WISE association procedure, is detected in the optical and in the X-raysmore » but not in the radio, making it extremely unusual if it is a blazar. Given its enigmatic spectral energy distribution, we considered the possibility that it is a 'radio faint blazar' or the prototype of a new class of extragalactic sources, our conclusion is independent of whether WISE J182352.33+431452.5 is the actual counterpart of 2FGL J1823.8+4312.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1047547
Report Number(s):
SLAC-PUB-15210
Journal ID: ISSN 2041--8205; TRN: US201216%%304
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-76SF00515
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Submitted to Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 757; Journal Issue: 2
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; 79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTRONOMY; BL LACERTAE OBJECTS; COLOR; ENERGY SPECTRA; GALAXIES; INFRARED SURVEYS; NUCLEI; RADIATIONS; X-RAY SOURCES; GAMMA RADIATION; ASTRO

Citation Formats

Massaro, Francesco. On the Nature of the Gamma-ray Source 2FGL J1823.8 4312: The Discovery of a New Class of Extragalactic X-ray Sources. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/757/2/L27.
Massaro, Francesco. On the Nature of the Gamma-ray Source 2FGL J1823.8 4312: The Discovery of a New Class of Extragalactic X-ray Sources. United States. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/757/2/L27.
Massaro, Francesco. Fri . "On the Nature of the Gamma-ray Source 2FGL J1823.8 4312: The Discovery of a New Class of Extragalactic X-ray Sources". United States. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/757/2/L27. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1047547.
@article{osti_1047547,
title = {On the Nature of the Gamma-ray Source 2FGL J1823.8 4312: The Discovery of a New Class of Extragalactic X-ray Sources},
author = {Massaro, Francesco},
abstractNote = {One of the unsolved mysteries of gamma-ray astronomy concerns the nature of the unidentified gamma-ray sources. Recently, using the Second Fermi LAT source catalog (2FGL) and the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) archive, we discovered that the WISE counterparts of gamma-ray blazars, a class of active galactic nuclei, delineate a region (the WISE Gamma-ray Strip) in the 3-dimensional infrared color space well separated from the locus of the other astronomical objects. Based on this result, we built an association procedure to recognize if there areWISE blazar candidates within the positional uncertainty region of the unidentified gamma-ray sources. Here we report on our analysis of 2FGL J1823.8+4312, a gamma-ray active galactic nucleus of uncertain type associated with the X-ray source 1RXS J182418.7+430954 according to the 2FGL, to verify whether it is a blazar. Applying our association method we found two sources with IR colors typical of gamma-ray blazars, located within the 99.9% confidence region of 2FGL J1823.8+4312: WISE J182352.33+431452.5 and WISE J182409.25+431404.7. Then we searched in the Chandra, NVSS and SDSS archival observations for their counterparts. We discovered that WISE J182352.33+431452.5, our preferred gamma-ray blazar candidate according to our WISE association procedure, is detected in the optical and in the X-rays but not in the radio, making it extremely unusual if it is a blazar. Given its enigmatic spectral energy distribution, we considered the possibility that it is a 'radio faint blazar' or the prototype of a new class of extragalactic sources, our conclusion is independent of whether WISE J182352.33+431452.5 is the actual counterpart of 2FGL J1823.8+4312.},
doi = {10.1088/2041-8205/757/2/L27},
journal = {Submitted to Astrophysical Journal Letters},
number = 2,
volume = 757,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Aug 03 00:00:00 EDT 2012},
month = {Fri Aug 03 00:00:00 EDT 2012}
}
  • One of the unsolved mysteries of gamma-ray astronomy concerns the nature of unidentified gamma-ray sources. Recently, using the Second Fermi LAT source catalog (2FGL) and the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) archive, we discovered that the WISE counterparts of gamma-ray blazars, a class of active galactic nuclei, delineate a region (the WISE Gamma-ray Strip) in three-dimensional infrared color space well separated from the locus of other astronomical objects. Based on this result, we built an association procedure to recognize if there are WISE blazar candidates within the positional uncertainty region of the unidentified gamma-ray sources. Here we report on ourmore » analysis of 2FGL J1823.8+4312, a gamma-ray active galactic nucleus of uncertain type associated with the X-ray source 1RXS J182418.7+430954 according to the 2FGL, to verify whether it is a blazar. Applying our association method we found two sources with IR colors typical of gamma-ray blazars, located within the 99.9% confidence region of 2FGL J1823.8+4312: WISE J182352.33+431452.5 and WISE J182409.25+431404.7. We then searched in the Chandra, NVSS, and SDSS archival observations for their counterparts. We discovered that WISE J182352.33+431452.5, our preferred gamma-ray blazar candidate according to our WISE association procedure, is detected in the optical and in the X-rays but not in the radio, making it extremely unusual if it is a blazar. Given its enigmatic spectral energy distribution, we considered the possibility that it is a 'radio-faint blazar' or the prototype of a new class of extragalactic sources; our conclusion is independent of whether WISE J182352.33+431452.5 is the actual counterpart of 2FGL J1823.8+4312.« less
  • In principle, the angular anisotropy in the extragalactic gamma-ray background (EGRB) places severe constraints upon putative populations of unresolved gamma-ray point sources. Existing estimates of the EGRB anisotropy have been constructed by excising known point sources, e.g., taken from the First or Two Year Fermi-LAT Source Catalog (1FGL or 2FGL, respectively) and statistically analyzing the residual gamma-ray sky maps. We perform an independent check of the EGRB anisotropy limits by comparing the values obtained from the 1FGL-masked sky maps to the signal implied by sources that lie below the 1FGL detection threshold in the more sensitive 2FGL and 1FHL (Firstmore » Fermi-LAT catalog of >10 GeV sources). As such, our analysis provides an internal consistency check of implications for source counts and spectral index distributions of gamma-ray bright active galactic nuclei obtained from Fermi-LAT data. Based on this, we find evidence for substantially larger anisotropies than those previously reported at energies above 5 GeV, where BL Lac objects are likely to provide the bulk of their contribution to the EGRB. This uncertainty in the EGRB anisotropy cautions against using it as an independent constraint for the high-redshift gamma-ray universe. Moreover, this would suggest that contrary to previous claims, smooth extensions of the resolved point-source population may be able to simultaneously explain both the isotropic and anisotropic components of the EGRB.« less
  • Over the last decade, X-ray surveys have provided outstanding new results due to the lack of the common selection effects present at other wavelengths. Here, we have selected a sample of unidentified sources from the XMM-Newton Slew Survey Catalog, likely to be extragalactic. Five of them were observed with the XMM-Newton observatory. In this work, we present the results of the spectral analysis of these objects in the X-ray and optical bands. Only three of them had useful spectroscopic X-ray data, and follow up observations were carried out in the optical range to determine their coordinates, classification, and redshift. Themore » sources are different types of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) with redshifts ranging from 0.059 to 0.386. The properties at both spectral ranges (X-rays and optical) are compatible with the common properties of their types of AGNs. Although the sources were selected by their hard X-ray properties, none of the three detected objects turned out to be an obscured AGN.« less
  • One of the great challenges of gamma-ray astronomy is identifying the lower energy counterparts to these high-energy sources. Recently, in this journal, Massaro et al. attempted to find the counterpart of 2FGL J1823.8+4312, a gamma-ray active galactic nucleus (AGN) of uncertain type from the Second Fermi Large Area Telescope catalog. After considering mid-infrared data in the field from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), those authors conclude that the preferred identification of 2FGL J1823.8+4312 is WISE J182352.33+431452.5, despite the fact that the mid-infrared source is undetected at radio energies. They claim that WISE J182352.33+431452.5 constitutes the discovery of a newmore » class of extragalactic X-ray source, either a radio-faint blazar or the prototype of a new class of active galaxy with an enigmatic spectral energy distribution. This conclusion is claimed to be independent of whether or not the WISE source is the actual counterpart to 2FGL J1823.8+4312. Based on a re-analysis of public data in this field and new spectroscopy from Palomar, we conclude that WISE J182352.33+431452.5 is a dust-reddened quasar at z = 0.560, a representative example of a very common extragalactic AGN class. Were WISE J182352.33+431452.5 to be associated with the gamma-ray emission, this would be an unusual and exciting discovery. However, we argue that 2FGL J1823.8+4312 is more likely associated with either WISE J182409.25+431404.7 or, more likely, WISE J182419.04+430949.6, two radio-loud sources in the field. The former is a radio-loud quasar and the latter is an optically variable source with a featureless blue spectrum.« less