Journal Article

The γ-ray brightest days of the blazar 3C 454.3

G. Bonnoli, G. Ghisellini, L. Foschini, F. Tavecchio and G. Ghirlanda

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 410, issue 1, pages 368-380
Published in print January 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17450.x
The γ-ray brightest days of the blazar 3C 454.3

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In the first week of 2009 December, the blazar 3C 454.3 became the brightest high-energy source in the sky. Its photon flux reached and surpassed the level of 10−5 ph cm−2 s−1 above 100 MeV. The Swift satellite observed the source several times during the period of high γ-ray flux, and we can construct really simultaneous spectral energy distributions (SEDs) before, during and after the luminosity peak. Our main findings are (i) the optical, X-ray and γ-ray fluxes correlate; (ii) the γ-ray flux varies quadratically (or even more) with the optical flux; (iii) a simple one-zone synchrotron inverse Compton model can account for all the considered SED; (iv) in this framework the γ-ray versus optical flux correlation can be explained if the magnetic field is slightly fainter when the overall jet luminosity is stronger and (v) the power that the jet spent to produce the peak γ-ray luminosity is of the same order, or larger, than the accretion disc luminosity.

Keywords: radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; galaxies: active; galaxies: individual: 3C 454.3; galaxies: jets

Journal Article.  10699 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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