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Locating the γ-ray emission region of the flat spectrum radio quasar PKS 1510−089

Brown, A.M.

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I present a study of the high-energy γ-ray properties of the flat spectrum radio quasar, PKS 1510−089, based on 3.75 yr of observations with the Large Area Telescope detector on-board the Fermi γ-ray Space Telescope. Throughout the observing period, the 0.1 < Eγ < 300 GeV γ-ray flux was highly variable, undergoing several flaring events where the daily flux exceeded 10−5 photons cm−2 s−1 on three separate occasions. The increased photon statistics of these large flares allowed the observations to be re-analysed in 6 and 3 h intervals, revealing flux doubling time-scales as small as 1.3 ± 0.12 h during the flare rise time, and flux halving time-scales of 1.21 ± 0.15 h during the flare decay. These are the smallest variability time-scales measured to date at MeV–GeV energies for the flat spectrum quasar class of active galactic nuclei. The >10−5 photons cm−2 s−1 flare events were also studied in more detail in an attempt to uncover evidence for the location of PKS 1510−089's γ-ray emission region. In particular, two approaches were used: (i) searching for an energy dependence to the cooling time-scales, and (ii) searching for evidence of a spectral cut-off. The combined results of these two approaches, along with the confirmation of ≥20 GeV photon flux from PKS 1510−089, suggest the presence of multiple γ-ray emission regions being located in both the broad line region and molecular torus region of PKS 1510−089. An analysis of the highest photon events within the 3.75 yr data set finds PKS 1510−089 to be a source of ≥20 GeV γ-rays at the 13.5σ confidence level; a observational property which is difficult to explain in the traditional view that γ-ray emission from active galactic nuclei originates from the base of the relativistic jet. This gives further weight to the argument that there are multiple, simultaneously active γ-ray emission regions located along the relativistic jet of active galactic nuclei.


Brown, A. (2013). Locating the γ-ray emission region of the flat spectrum radio quasar PKS 1510−089. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 431(1), 824-835.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 1, 2013
Deposit Date Sep 9, 2013
Publicly Available Date Jun 19, 2014
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Royal Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 431
Issue 1
Pages 824-835
Keywords Galaxies: active, Galaxies: fundamental parameters, Parameters quasars: individual: PKS 1510−089, Galaxies: jets, Galaxies: nuclei, Gamma-rays: galaxies


Published Journal Article (1.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2013 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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