2,001 research outputs found

    Gamma-Rays from Non-Blazar AGN

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    Non-blazar Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) have emerged as a new gamma-ray emitting source class on the extragalactic sky and started to deepen our understanding of the physical processes and the nature of AGN in general. The detection of Narrow Line Seyfert 1 galaxies in the Fermi-LAT energy regime, for example, offers important information for our understanding of jet formation and radio-loudness. Radio galaxies, on the other hand, have become particularly interesting at high (HE) and very high (VHE) gamma-ray energies. With their jets not directly pointing towards us (i.e. misaligned), they offer a unique tool to probe into the nature of the fundamental (and often hidden) physical processes in AGN. This review highlights and discusses some of the observational and theoretical progress achieved in the gamma-ray regime during recent years, including the evidence for unexpected spectral hardening in Centaurus A and extreme short-term variability as seen in IC 310 and M87.Comment: Invited review paper for the 6th Symposium on High Energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy, to appear in AIP Conference Proc., 11 pages, 6 figure

    Gamma-Ray Astrophysics in the Time Domain

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    The last few years have seen gamma-ray astronomy maturing and advancing in the field of time-domain astronomy, utilizing source variability on timescales over many orders of magnitudes, from a decade down to a few minutes and shorter, depending on the source. This review focuses on some of the key science issues and conceptual developments concerning the timing characteristics of active galactic nuclei (AGN) at gamma-ray energies. It highlights the relevance of adequate statistical tools and illustrates that the developments in the gamma-ray domain bear the potential to fundamentally deepen our understanding of the nature of the emitting source and the link between accretion dynamics, black hole physics, and jet ejection.Comment: review paper; accepted for publication in Galaxies, Special Issue Monitoring the Non-Thermal Universe; 17 pages, 11 figure

    Periodic variability and binary black hole systems in blazars

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    We consider the periodic modulation of emission from jets in blazar-type sources. A differential Doppler boosting origin, associated with the helical motion of a radiating component, is analyzed for different periodic driving sources including orbital motion and jet precession in a binary black hole system (BBHS). We emphasize that for non-ballistic helical motion classical travel time effects can lead to strong shortening effects, such that the observed period may be a factor γb2\gamma_b^2 smaller than the underlying driving period, where γb\gamma_b denotes the bulk Lorentz factor of the jet flow. The relevance of the above noted scenarios is discussed for the BL Lac object AO 0235+16.Comment: 6 pages, 1 figure; contribution to: High Energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy: 2nd International Symposium (Heidelberg, July 2004); AIP Conf. Proceedings, eds. F. A. Aharonian, H J. Voelk, and D. Horn

    Rapid VHE variability in blazars

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    Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) are known to show significant variability over a wide frequency range. We review observational results on the variability characteristics of blazars in the very high energy (VHE) domain, focusing on recent findings of rapid VHE variability and evidence for an underlying multiplicative driving process in PKS 2155-304. We explore a physical scenario where the variability is assumed to arise due to accretion disk fluctuations transmitted to the jet, and discuss its implications for the central powerhouse.Comment: 6 pages, 3 figures. Accepted to the Proceedings of the 25th Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics (Heidelberg, 2010

    Gamma-ray emission from the black hole's vicinity in AGN

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    Non-thermal magnetospheric processes in the vicinity of supermassive black holes have attracted particular attention in recent times. Gap-type particle acceleration accompanied by curvature and Inverse Compton radiation could in principle lead to variable gamma-ray emission that may be detectable with current instruments. We shortly comment on the occurrence of magnetospheric gaps and the realisation of different potentials. The detection of rapid variability becomes most instructive by imposing a constraint on possible gap sizes, thereby limiting extractable gap powers and allowing to assess the plausibility of a magnetospheric origin. The relevance of this is discussed for the radio galaxies Cen A, M87 and IC310. The detection of magnetospheric gamma-ray emission generally allows for a sensitive probe of the near-black-hole region and is thus of prime interest for advancing our understanding of the (astro)physics of extreme environmentsComment: Talk presented at the 7th Fermi Symposium, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, October 201

    Radio Galaxies at VHE energies

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    Radio Galaxies have by now emerged as a new γ\gamma-ray emitting source class on the extragalactic sky. Given their remarkable observed characteristics, such as unusual gamma-ray spectra or ultrafast VHE variability, they represent unique examples to probe into the nature and physics of AGN in general. This review provides a compact summary of their observed characteristics at very high γ\gamma-ray energies (VHE; >100> 100 GeV) along with a discussion of their possible physics implications. A particular focus is given to a concise overview of fundamental concepts concerning the origin of variable VHE emission, including recent developments in black hole gap physics.Comment: Invited review article, submitted to Galaxies; review, 21 pages, 14 figures; small typos corrected and references fixed to match accepted versio

    Particle Acceleration in Gamma-Ray Burst Jets

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    Gradual shear acceleration of energetic particles in gamma-ray burst (GRB) jets is considered. Special emphasis is given to the analysis of universal structured jets, and characteristic acceleration timescales are determined for a power-law and a Gaussian evolution of the bulk flow Lorentz factor γb\gamma_b with angle ϕ\phi from the jet axis. The results suggest that local power-law particle distributions may be generated and that higher energy particles are generally concentrated closer to the jet axis. Taking several constraints into account we show that efficient electron acceleration in gradual shear flows, with maximum particle energy successively decreasing with time, may be possible on scales larger than r1015r \sim 10^{15} cm, provided the jet magnetic field becomes sufficiently weak and/or decreases rapidly enough with distance, while efficient acceleration of protons to ultra-high energies >1020> 10^{20} eV may be possible under a wide range of conditions.Comment: 11 pages, 3 figures; ApJ Letters accepted; final version: small typos corrected in order to match published versio

    Gap-type Particle Acceleration in the Magnetospheres of Rotating Supermassive Black Holes

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    The detection of rapidly variable gamma-ray emission in active galactic nuclei has generated renewed interest in magnetospheric particle acceleration and emission scenarios. In order to explore its potential, we study the possibility of steady gap acceleration around the null surface of a rotating black hole magnetosphere. We employ a simplified (1D) description along with the general relativistic expression of Gauss's law, and we assume that the gap is embedded in the radiation field of a radiatively inefficient accretion flow. The model is used to derive expressions for the radial distribution of the parallel electric field component, the electron and positron charge density, the particle Lorentz factor, and the number density of γ\gamma-ray photons. We integrate the set of equations numerically, imposing suitable boundary conditions. The results show that the existence of a steady gap solution for a relative high value of the global current is in principle possible if charge injection of both species is allowed at the boundaries. We present gap solutions for different choices of the global current and the accretion rate. When put in context, our results suggest that the variable very high energy γ\gamma-ray emission in M87 could be compatible with a magnetospheric origin.Comment: 20 pages, 11 figures; ApJ accepted; minor typos fixed to match published versio
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