On 2015 June 16, Fermi-LAT observed a giant outburst from the flat spectrum radio quasar 3C 279 with a peak >100 MeV flux of ∼3.6 10-5 photons cm-2 s-1, averaged over orbital period intervals. It is historically the highest γ-ray flux observed from the source, including past EGRET observations, with the γ-ray isotropic luminosity reaching ∼1049 erg s-1. During the outburst, the Fermi spacecraft, which has an orbital period of 95.4 minutes, was operated in a special pointing mode to optimize the exposure for 3C 279. For the first time, significant flux variability at sub-orbital timescales was found in blazar observations by Fermi-LAT. The source flux variability was resolved down to 2-minute binned timescales, with flux doubling times of less than 5 minutes. The observed minute-scale variability suggests a very compact emission region at hundreds of Schwarzschild radii from the central engine in conical jet models. A minimum bulk jet Lorentz factor (Γ) of 35 is necessary to avoid both internal γ-ray absorption and super-Eddington jet power. In the standard external radiation Comptonization scenario, Γ should be at least 50 to avoid overproducing the synchrotron self-Compton component. However, this predicts extremely low magnetization (∼5 10-4). Equipartition requires Γ as high as 120, unless the emitting region is a small fraction of the dissipation region. Alternatively, we consider γ rays originating as synchrotron radiation of γ e ∼ 1.6 106 electrons, in a magnetic field B ∼ 1.3 kG, accelerated by strong electric fields E ∼ B in the process of magnetoluminescence. At such short distance scales, one cannot immediately exclude the production of γ-rays in hadronic processes.
|Titolo:||MINUTE-TIMESCALE >100 MeV gamma-RAY VARIABILITY during the GIANT OUTBURST of QUASAR 3C 279 OBSERVED by FERMI-LAT in 2015 June|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2016|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.3847/2041-8205/824/2/L20|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|