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Title: Radiative signatures of plasmoid-dominated reconnection in blazar jets

Abstract

The multiwavelength spectral and temporal variability observed in blazars set tight constraints on current theoretical emission models. In this work, we investigate the relativistic magnetic reconnection process as a source of blazar emission in which quasi-spherical plasmoids, containing relativistic particles and magnetic fields, are associated with the emission sites in blazar jets. By coupling recent two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations of relativistic reconnection with a time-dependent radiative transfer code, we compute the non-thermal emission from a chain of plasmoids formed during a reconnection event. The derived photon spectra display characteristic features observed in both BL Lac sources and flat spectrum radio quasars, with the distinction made by varying the strength of the external photon fields, the jet magnetization, and the number of pairs per proton contained within. Light curves produced from reconnection events are composed of many fast and powerful flares that appear on excess of a slower evolving envelope produced by the cumulative emission of medium-sized plasmoids. The observed variability is highly dependent upon the orientation of the reconnection layer with respect to the blazar jet axis and to the observer. Our model provides a physically motivated framework for explaining the multitime-scale blazar variability across the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3];  [1]
  1. Department of Physics, Purdue University, 525 Northwestern Avenue, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
  2. Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, 4 Ivy Lane, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
  3. Department of Astronomy, Columbia University, 550 W 120th Street, New York, NY 10027, USA
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA); National Science Foundation (NSF)
OSTI Identifier:
1479116
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1612628
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0016542; NNX16AB32G; NNX17AG21G
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Journal Volume: 482 Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0035-8711
Publisher:
Royal Astronomical Society
Country of Publication:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; astronomy & astrophysics; magnetic reconnection; radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; galaxies: jets

Citation Formats

Christie, I. M., Petropoulou, M., Sironi, L., and Giannios, D. Radiative signatures of plasmoid-dominated reconnection in blazar jets. United Kingdom: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1093/mnras/sty2636.
Christie, I. M., Petropoulou, M., Sironi, L., & Giannios, D. Radiative signatures of plasmoid-dominated reconnection in blazar jets. United Kingdom. doi:10.1093/mnras/sty2636.
Christie, I. M., Petropoulou, M., Sironi, L., and Giannios, D. Mon . "Radiative signatures of plasmoid-dominated reconnection in blazar jets". United Kingdom. doi:10.1093/mnras/sty2636.
@article{osti_1479116,
title = {Radiative signatures of plasmoid-dominated reconnection in blazar jets},
author = {Christie, I. M. and Petropoulou, M. and Sironi, L. and Giannios, D.},
abstractNote = {The multiwavelength spectral and temporal variability observed in blazars set tight constraints on current theoretical emission models. In this work, we investigate the relativistic magnetic reconnection process as a source of blazar emission in which quasi-spherical plasmoids, containing relativistic particles and magnetic fields, are associated with the emission sites in blazar jets. By coupling recent two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations of relativistic reconnection with a time-dependent radiative transfer code, we compute the non-thermal emission from a chain of plasmoids formed during a reconnection event. The derived photon spectra display characteristic features observed in both BL Lac sources and flat spectrum radio quasars, with the distinction made by varying the strength of the external photon fields, the jet magnetization, and the number of pairs per proton contained within. Light curves produced from reconnection events are composed of many fast and powerful flares that appear on excess of a slower evolving envelope produced by the cumulative emission of medium-sized plasmoids. The observed variability is highly dependent upon the orientation of the reconnection layer with respect to the blazar jet axis and to the observer. Our model provides a physically motivated framework for explaining the multitime-scale blazar variability across the entire electromagnetic spectrum.},
doi = {10.1093/mnras/sty2636},
journal = {Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society},
number = 1,
volume = 482,
place = {United Kingdom},
year = {2018},
month = {10}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1093/mnras/sty2636

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 6 works
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