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Title: A Luminous and Isolated Gamma-Ray Flare from the Blazar B2 1215+30

Abstract

We report that B2 1215+30 is a BL-Lac-type blazar that was first detected at TeV energies by the MAGIC atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes and subsequently confirmed by the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS) observatory with data collected between 2009 and 2012. In 2014 February 08, VERITAS detected a large-amplitude flare from B2 1215+30 during routine monitoring observations of the blazar 1ES 1218+304, located in the same field of view. The TeV flux reached 2.4 times the Crab Nebula flux with a variability timescale of $$\lt 3.6\,\mathrm{hr}$$. Multiwavelength observations with Fermi-LAT, Swift, and the Tuorla Observatory revealed a correlated high GeV flux state and no significant optical counterpart to the flare, with a spectral energy distribution where the gamma-ray luminosity exceeds the synchrotron luminosity. Lastly, when interpreted in the framework of a one-zone leptonic model, the observed emission implies a high degree of beaming, with Doppler factor $$\delta \gt 10$$, and an electron population with spectral index $$p\lt 2.3$$.

Authors:
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Publication Date:
Research Org.:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
Contributing Org.:
VERITAS Collaboration; Fermi-LAT Collaboration
OSTI Identifier:
1355737
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-76SF00515
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: The Astrophysical Journal (Online); Journal Volume: 836; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; BL Lacertae objects: individual (B2 1215+30, VER J1217+301); galaxies: active; galaxies: jets; galaxies: nuclei; gamma rays: galaxies

Citation Formats

Abeysekara, A. U., Archambault, S., Archer, A., Benbow, W., Bird, R., Buchovecky, M., Buckley, J. H., Bugaev, V., Byrum, K., Cerruti, M., Chen, X., Ciupik, L., Cui, W., Dickinson, H. J., Eisch, J. D., Errando, M., Falcone, A., Feng, Q., Finley, J. P., Fleischhack, H., Fortson, L., Furniss, A., Gillanders, G. H., Griffin, S., Grube, J., Hütten, M., Håkansson, N., Hanna, D., Holder, J., Humensky, T. B., Johnson, C. A., Kaaret, P., Kar, P., Kertzman, M., Kieda, D., Krause, M., Krennrich, F., Kumar, S., Lang, M. J., Maier, G., McArthur, S., McCann, A., Meagher, K., Moriarty, P., Mukherjee, R., Nguyen, T., Nieto, D., Ong, R. A., Otte, A. N., Park, N., Pelassa, V., Pohl, M., Popkow, A., Pueschel, E., Quinn, J., Ragan, K., Reynolds, P. T., Richards, G. T., Roache, E., Rulten, C., Santander, M., Sembroski, G. H., Shahinyan, K., Staszak, D., Telezhinsky, I., Tucci, J. V., Tyler, J., Wakely, S. P., Weiner, O. M., Weinstein, A., Wilhelm, A., Williams, D. A., Fegan, S., Giebels, B., Horan, D., Berdyugin, A., Kuan, J., Lindfors, E., Nilsson, K., Oksanen, A., Prokoph, H., Reinthal, R., Takalo, L., and Zefi, F. A Luminous and Isolated Gamma-Ray Flare from the Blazar B2 1215+30. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/836/2/205.
Abeysekara, A. U., Archambault, S., Archer, A., Benbow, W., Bird, R., Buchovecky, M., Buckley, J. H., Bugaev, V., Byrum, K., Cerruti, M., Chen, X., Ciupik, L., Cui, W., Dickinson, H. J., Eisch, J. D., Errando, M., Falcone, A., Feng, Q., Finley, J. P., Fleischhack, H., Fortson, L., Furniss, A., Gillanders, G. H., Griffin, S., Grube, J., Hütten, M., Håkansson, N., Hanna, D., Holder, J., Humensky, T. B., Johnson, C. A., Kaaret, P., Kar, P., Kertzman, M., Kieda, D., Krause, M., Krennrich, F., Kumar, S., Lang, M. J., Maier, G., McArthur, S., McCann, A., Meagher, K., Moriarty, P., Mukherjee, R., Nguyen, T., Nieto, D., Ong, R. A., Otte, A. N., Park, N., Pelassa, V., Pohl, M., Popkow, A., Pueschel, E., Quinn, J., Ragan, K., Reynolds, P. T., Richards, G. T., Roache, E., Rulten, C., Santander, M., Sembroski, G. H., Shahinyan, K., Staszak, D., Telezhinsky, I., Tucci, J. V., Tyler, J., Wakely, S. P., Weiner, O. M., Weinstein, A., Wilhelm, A., Williams, D. A., Fegan, S., Giebels, B., Horan, D., Berdyugin, A., Kuan, J., Lindfors, E., Nilsson, K., Oksanen, A., Prokoph, H., Reinthal, R., Takalo, L., & Zefi, F. A Luminous and Isolated Gamma-Ray Flare from the Blazar B2 1215+30. United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/836/2/205.
Abeysekara, A. U., Archambault, S., Archer, A., Benbow, W., Bird, R., Buchovecky, M., Buckley, J. H., Bugaev, V., Byrum, K., Cerruti, M., Chen, X., Ciupik, L., Cui, W., Dickinson, H. J., Eisch, J. D., Errando, M., Falcone, A., Feng, Q., Finley, J. P., Fleischhack, H., Fortson, L., Furniss, A., Gillanders, G. H., Griffin, S., Grube, J., Hütten, M., Håkansson, N., Hanna, D., Holder, J., Humensky, T. B., Johnson, C. A., Kaaret, P., Kar, P., Kertzman, M., Kieda, D., Krause, M., Krennrich, F., Kumar, S., Lang, M. J., Maier, G., McArthur, S., McCann, A., Meagher, K., Moriarty, P., Mukherjee, R., Nguyen, T., Nieto, D., Ong, R. A., Otte, A. N., Park, N., Pelassa, V., Pohl, M., Popkow, A., Pueschel, E., Quinn, J., Ragan, K., Reynolds, P. T., Richards, G. T., Roache, E., Rulten, C., Santander, M., Sembroski, G. H., Shahinyan, K., Staszak, D., Telezhinsky, I., Tucci, J. V., Tyler, J., Wakely, S. P., Weiner, O. M., Weinstein, A., Wilhelm, A., Williams, D. A., Fegan, S., Giebels, B., Horan, D., Berdyugin, A., Kuan, J., Lindfors, E., Nilsson, K., Oksanen, A., Prokoph, H., Reinthal, R., Takalo, L., and Zefi, F. Tue . "A Luminous and Isolated Gamma-Ray Flare from the Blazar B2 1215+30". United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/836/2/205. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1355737.
@article{osti_1355737,
title = {A Luminous and Isolated Gamma-Ray Flare from the Blazar B2 1215+30},
author = {Abeysekara, A. U. and Archambault, S. and Archer, A. and Benbow, W. and Bird, R. and Buchovecky, M. and Buckley, J. H. and Bugaev, V. and Byrum, K. and Cerruti, M. and Chen, X. and Ciupik, L. and Cui, W. and Dickinson, H. J. and Eisch, J. D. and Errando, M. and Falcone, A. and Feng, Q. and Finley, J. P. and Fleischhack, H. and Fortson, L. and Furniss, A. and Gillanders, G. H. and Griffin, S. and Grube, J. and Hütten, M. and Håkansson, N. and Hanna, D. and Holder, J. and Humensky, T. B. and Johnson, C. A. and Kaaret, P. and Kar, P. and Kertzman, M. and Kieda, D. and Krause, M. and Krennrich, F. and Kumar, S. and Lang, M. J. and Maier, G. and McArthur, S. and McCann, A. and Meagher, K. and Moriarty, P. and Mukherjee, R. and Nguyen, T. and Nieto, D. and Ong, R. A. and Otte, A. N. and Park, N. and Pelassa, V. and Pohl, M. and Popkow, A. and Pueschel, E. and Quinn, J. and Ragan, K. and Reynolds, P. T. and Richards, G. T. and Roache, E. and Rulten, C. and Santander, M. and Sembroski, G. H. and Shahinyan, K. and Staszak, D. and Telezhinsky, I. and Tucci, J. V. and Tyler, J. and Wakely, S. P. and Weiner, O. M. and Weinstein, A. and Wilhelm, A. and Williams, D. A. and Fegan, S. and Giebels, B. and Horan, D. and Berdyugin, A. and Kuan, J. and Lindfors, E. and Nilsson, K. and Oksanen, A. and Prokoph, H. and Reinthal, R. and Takalo, L. and Zefi, F.},
abstractNote = {We report that B2 1215+30 is a BL-Lac-type blazar that was first detected at TeV energies by the MAGIC atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes and subsequently confirmed by the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS) observatory with data collected between 2009 and 2012. In 2014 February 08, VERITAS detected a large-amplitude flare from B2 1215+30 during routine monitoring observations of the blazar 1ES 1218+304, located in the same field of view. The TeV flux reached 2.4 times the Crab Nebula flux with a variability timescale of $\lt 3.6\,\mathrm{hr}$. Multiwavelength observations with Fermi-LAT, Swift, and the Tuorla Observatory revealed a correlated high GeV flux state and no significant optical counterpart to the flare, with a spectral energy distribution where the gamma-ray luminosity exceeds the synchrotron luminosity. Lastly, when interpreted in the framework of a one-zone leptonic model, the observed emission implies a high degree of beaming, with Doppler factor $\delta \gt 10$, and an electron population with spectral index $p\lt 2.3$.},
doi = {10.3847/1538-4357/836/2/205},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal (Online)},
number = 2,
volume = 836,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Feb 21 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Tue Feb 21 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

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  • We report on VERITAS observations of the BL Lac object B2 1215+30 between 2008 and 2012. During this period, the source was detected at very high energies (VHEs; E > 100 GeV) by VERITAS with a significance of 8.9σ and showed clear variability on timescales larger than months. In 2011, the source was found to be in a relatively bright state and a power-law fit to the differential photon spectrum yields a spectral index of 3.6 ± 0.4{sub stat} ± 0.3{sub syst} with an integral flux above 200 GeV of (8.0 ± 0.9{sub stat} ± 3.2{sub syst}) × 10{sup –12}more » cm{sup –2} s{sup –1}. No short term variability could be detected during the bright state in 2011. Multi-wavelength data were obtained contemporaneously with the VERITAS observations in 2011 and cover optical (Super-LOTIS, MDM, Swift/UVOT), X-ray (Swift/XRT), and gamma-ray (Fermi-LAT) frequencies. These were used to construct the spectral energy distribution (SED) of B2 1215+30. A one-zone leptonic model is used to model the blazar emission and the results are compared to those of MAGIC from early 2011 and other VERITAS-detected blazars. The SED can be reproduced well with model parameters typical for VHE-detected BL Lac objects.« less
  • Here we report on the detailed analysis of the γ-ray light curve of a luminous blazar PKS 1510-089 observed in the GeV range with the Large Area Telescope (LAT) onboard the Fermi satellite during the period 2011 September - December. By investigating the properties of the detected three major flares with the shortest possible time binning allowed by the photon statistics, we find a variety of temporal characteristics and variability patterns. This includes a clearly asymmetric profile (with a faster flux rise and a slower decay) of the flare resolved on sub-daily timescales, a superposition of many short uncorrelated flaringmore » events forming the apparently coherent longer-duration outburst, and a huge single isolated outburst unresolved down to the timescale of three-hours. In the latter case we estimate the corresponding γ-ray flux doubling timescale to be below one hour, which is extreme and never previously reported for any active galaxy« less
  • Here we report on the detailed analysis of the {gamma}-ray light curve of a luminous blazar PKS 1510-089 observed in the GeV range with the Large Area Telescope (LAT) on board the Fermi satellite during the period 2011 September-December. By investigating the properties of the detected three major flares with the shortest possible time binning allowed by the photon statistics, we find a variety of temporal characteristics and variability patterns. This includes a clearly asymmetric profile (with a faster flux rise and a slower decay) of the flare resolved on sub-daily timescales, a superposition of many short uncorrelated flaring eventsmore » forming the apparently coherent longer-duration outburst, and a huge single isolated outburst unresolved down to the timescale of 3 hr. In the latter case we estimate the corresponding {gamma}-ray flux doubling timescale to be below 1 hr, which is extreme and never previously reported for any active galaxy in the GeV range. The other unique finding is that the total power released during the studied rapid and high-amplitude flares constitutes the bulk of the power radiatively dissipated in the source and a significant fraction of the total kinetic luminosity of the underlying relativistic outflow. Our analysis allows us to access directly the characteristic timescales involved in shaping the energy dissipation processes in the source, and to provide constraints on the location and the structure of the blazar emission zone in PKS 1510-089.« less
  • Here, we present the discovery of very high energy (VHE, E > 100 GeV) γ-ray emission from the BL Lac object 1ES 1215+303 by the MAGIC telescopes and simultaneous multi-wavelength data in a broad energy range from radio to γ-rays. We also study the VHE γ-ray emission from 1ES 1215+303 and its relation to the emissions in other wavelengths. Triggered by an optical outburst, MAGIC observed the source in 2011 January - February for 20.3 h. The target was monitored in the optical R-band by the KVA telescope that also performed optical polarization measurements. Furthermore, we triggered target of opportunitymore » observations with the Swift satellite and obtained simultaneous and quasi-simultaneous data from the Fermi Large Area Telescope and from the Metsähovi radio telescope. We also present the analysis of older MAGIC data taken in 2010. The MAGIC observations of 1ES 1215+303 carried out in 2011 January - February resulted in the first detection of the source at VHE with a statistical significance of 9.4σ. Simultaneously, the source was observed in a high optical and X-ray state. In 2010 the source was observed in a lower state in optical, X-ray, and VHE, while the GeV γ-ray flux and the radio flux were comparable in 2010 and 2011. The spectral energy distribution obtained with the 2011 data can be modeled with a simple one zone SSC model, but it requires extreme values for the Doppler factor or the electron energy distribution.« less
  • It is widely accepted that strong and variable radiation detected over all accessible energy bands in a number of active galaxies arises from a relativistic, Doppler-boosted jet pointing close to our line of sight. The size of the emitting zone and the location of this region relative to the central supermassive black hole are, however, poorly known, with estimates ranging from light-hours to a light-year or more. Here we report the coincidence of a gamma ({gamma})-ray flare with a dramatic change of optical polarization angle. This provides evidence for co-spatiality of optical and {gamma}-ray emission regions and indicates a highlymore » ordered jet magnetic field. The results also require a non-axisymmetric structure of the emission zone, implying a curved trajectory for the emitting material within the jet, with the dissipation region located at a considerable distance from the black hole, at about 10{sup 5} gravitational radii.« less