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Title: Variable VHE gamma-ray emission from Markarian 501

Abstract

The blazar Markarian 501 (Mrk 501) was observed at energies above 100 GeV with the MAGIC telescope from May through July 2005. The high sensitivity of the instrument enabled the determination of the flux and spectrum of the source on a night-by-night basis. Throughout our observational campaign, the flux from Mrk 501 was found to vary by an order of magnitude, and to be correlated with spectral changes. Intra-night flux variability with flux-doubling times down to 2 minutes was also observed. The strength of variability increased with the energy of the {gamma}-ray photons. The energy spectra were found to harden significantly with increasing flux, and a spectral peak clearly showed up during very active states. The position of the spectral peak seems to be correlated with the source luminosity.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
899210
Report Number(s):
SLAC-PUB-12334
astro-ph/0702008; TRN: US0701929
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-76SF00515
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS; ENERGY SPECTRA; LUMINOSITY; PHOTONS; SENSITIVITY; TELESCOPES; UNINTERRUPTIBLE POWER SUPPLIES; Astrophysics,ASTRO

Citation Formats

Albert, Jordi. Variable VHE gamma-ray emission from Markarian 501. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1086/521382.
Albert, Jordi. Variable VHE gamma-ray emission from Markarian 501. United States. doi:10.1086/521382.
Albert, Jordi. Tue . "Variable VHE gamma-ray emission from Markarian 501". United States. doi:10.1086/521382. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/899210.
@article{osti_899210,
title = {Variable VHE gamma-ray emission from Markarian 501},
author = {Albert, Jordi},
abstractNote = {The blazar Markarian 501 (Mrk 501) was observed at energies above 100 GeV with the MAGIC telescope from May through July 2005. The high sensitivity of the instrument enabled the determination of the flux and spectrum of the source on a night-by-night basis. Throughout our observational campaign, the flux from Mrk 501 was found to vary by an order of magnitude, and to be correlated with spectral changes. Intra-night flux variability with flux-doubling times down to 2 minutes was also observed. The strength of variability increased with the energy of the {gamma}-ray photons. The energy spectra were found to harden significantly with increasing flux, and a spectral peak clearly showed up during very active states. The position of the spectral peak seems to be correlated with the source luminosity.},
doi = {10.1086/521382},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Feb 06 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Tue Feb 06 00:00:00 EST 2007}
}
  • The blazar Markarian 501 (Mrk 501) was observed above 100 GeV with the MAGIC Telescope during May, June and July 2005. The high sensitivity of the instrument made possible the detection of the source with high significance in each of the observing nights. During this observational campaign, the emitted gamma-ray flux from Mkn 501 was found to vary by one order of magnitude, and showed a high correlation with spectral changes. Intra-night flux variability was also observed, with flux-doubling times of {approx} 2 minutes. The data showed a clear evidence of a spectral peak (in the {nu}F{nu} representation) during themore » nights when the gamma-ray activity was highest. The location of this spectral feature was found to be correlated with the emitted gamma-ray flux. In these proceedings we discuss some of the results of this unprecedented spectral and temporal analysis of Mrk 501 observations in the very high energy range.« less
  • We report on the {gamma}-ray activity of the blazar Mrk 501 during the first 480 days of Fermi operation. We find that the average Large Area Telescope (LAT) {gamma}-ray spectrum of Mrk 501 can be well described by a single power-law function with a photon index of 1.78 {+-} 0.03. While we observe relatively mild flux variations with the Fermi-LAT (within less than a factor of two), we detect remarkable spectral variability where the hardest observed spectral index within the LAT energy range is 1.52 {+-} 0.14, and the softest one is 2.51 {+-} 0.20. These unexpected spectral changes domore » not correlate with the measured flux variations above 0.3 GeV. In this paper, we also present the first results from the 4.5 month long multifrequency campaign (2009 March 15-August 1) on Mrk 501, which included the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), Swift, RXTE, MAGIC, and VERITAS, the F-GAMMA, GASP-WEBT, and other collaborations and instruments which provided excellent temporal and energy coverage of the source throughout the entire campaign. The extensive radio to TeV data set from this campaign provides us with the most detailed spectral energy distribution yet collected for this source during its relatively low activity. The average spectral energy distribution of Mrk 501 is well described by the standard one-zone synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) model. In the framework of this model, we find that the dominant emission region is characterized by a size {approx}<0.1 pc (comparable within a factor of few to the size of the partially resolved VLBA core at 15-43 GHz), and that the total jet power ({approx_equal}10{sup 44} erg s{sup -1}) constitutes only a small fraction ({approx}10{sup -3}) of the Eddington luminosity. The energy distribution of the freshly accelerated radiating electrons required to fit the time-averaged data has a broken power-law form in the energy range 0.3 GeV-10 TeV, with spectral indices 2.2 and 2.7 below and above the break energy of 20 GeV. We argue that such a form is consistent with a scenario in which the bulk of the energy dissipation within the dominant emission zone of Mrk 501 is due to relativistic, proton-mediated shocks. We find that the ultrarelativistic electrons and mildly relativistic protons within the blazar zone, if comparable in number, are in approximate energy equipartition, with their energy dominating the jet magnetic field energy by about two orders of magnitude.« less
  • Here, we report on the γ-ray activity of the blazar Mrk 501 during the first 480 days of Fermi operation. We find that the average Large Area Telescope (LAT) γ-ray spectrum of Mrk 501 can be well described by a single power-law function with a photon index of 1.78 ± 0.03. While we observe relatively mild flux variations with the Fermi-LAT (within less than a factor of two), we detect remarkable spectral variability where the hardest observed spectral index within the LAT energy range is 1.52 ± 0.14, and the softest one is 2.51 ± 0.20. These unexpected spectral changes do not correlate with the measured flux variations above 0.3 GeV. In this paper, we also present the first results from the 4.5 month long multifrequency campaign (2009 March 15—August 1) on Mrk 501, which included the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), Swift, RXTE, MAGIC, and VERITAS, the F-GAMMA, GASP-WEBT, and other collaborations and instruments which provided excellent temporal and energy coverage of the source throughout the entire campaign. The extensive radio to TeV data set from this campaign provides us with the most detailed spectral energy distribution yet collected for this source during its relatively low activity. The average spectral energy distribution of Mrk 501 is well described by the standard one-zone synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) model. In the framework of this model, we find that the dominant emission region is characterized by a sizemore » $$\lesssim$$0.1 pc (comparable within a factor of few to the size of the partially resolved VLBA core at 15-43 GHz), and that the total jet power (~10 44 erg s –1) constitutes only a small fraction (~10 –3) of the Eddington luminosity. The energy distribution of the freshly accelerated radiating electrons required to fit the time-averaged data has a broken power-law form in the energy range 0.3 GeV-10 TeV, with spectral indices 2.2 and 2.7 below and above the break energy of 20 GeV. We argue that such a form is consistent with a scenario in which the bulk of the energy dissipation within the dominant emission zone of Mrk 501 is due to relativistic, proton-mediated shocks. We find that the ultrarelativistic electrons and mildly relativistic protons within the blazar zone, if comparable in number, are in approximate energy equipartition, with their energy dominating the jet magnetic field energy by about two orders of magnitude.« less