Journal Article

Fast variability of γ-ray emission from supermassive black hole binary OJ 287

A. Neronov and Ie. Vovk

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 412, issue 2, pages 1389-1393
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online March 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17997.x
Fast variability of γ-ray emission from supermassive black hole binary OJ 287

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We report the discovery of fast variability of γ-ray flares from blazar OJ 287. This blazar is known to be powered by a binary system of supermassive black holes. The observed variability time-scale Tvar≲ 3–10 h is much shorter than the light-crossing time of the more massive (1.8 × 1010 M) black hole and is comparable to the light-crossing time of the less massive (1.3 × 108 M) black hole. This indicates that γ-ray emission is produced by the relativistic jet ejected by the black hole of smaller mass. Detection of γ-rays with energies in excess of 10 GeV during the fast variable flares constrains the Doppler factor of the jet to be larger than 4. The possibility of studying the orbital modulation of emission from the relativistic jet makes OJ 287 a unique laboratory for the study of the mechanism(s) of formation of jets by black holes, and in particular the response of the jet parameters to changes in the parameters of the medium from which the black hole accretes and into which the jet expands.

Keywords: black hole physics; radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; BL Lacertae objects: individual: OJ 287; galaxies: nuclei; gamma-rays: general

Journal Article.  3896 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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