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Spitzer Observations of the Predicted Eddington Flare from Blazar OJ 287

Laine, Seppo and Dey, Lankeswar and Valtonen, Mauri and Gopakumar, A. and Zola, Stanislaw and Komossa, S. and Kidger, Mark and Pihajoki, Pauli and Gómez, José L. and Caton, Daniel and Ciprini, Stefano and Drozdz, Marek and Gazeas, Kosmas and Godunova, Vira and Haque, Shirin and Hildebrandt, Felix and Hudec, Rene and Jermak, Helen and Kong, Albert K. H. and Lehto, Harry and Liakos, Alexios and Matsumoto, Katsura and Mugrauer, Markus and Pursimo, Tapio and Reichart, Daniel E. and Simon, Andrii and Siwak, Michal and Sonbas, Eda (2020) Spitzer Observations of the Predicted Eddington Flare from Blazar OJ 287. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 894 (1). Art. No. L1. ISSN 2041-8213. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ab79a4.

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Binary black hole (BH) central engine description for the unique blazar OJ 287 predicted that the next secondary BH impact-induced bremsstrahlung flare should peak on 2019 July 31. This prediction was based on detailed general relativistic modeling of the secondary BH trajectory around the primary BH and its accretion disk. The expected flare was termed the Eddington flare to commemorate the centennial celebrations of now-famous solar eclipse observations to test general relativity by Sir Arthur Eddington. We analyze the multi-epoch Spitzer observations of the expected flare between 2019 July 31 and 2019 September 6, as well as baseline observations during 2019 February–March. Observed Spitzer flux density variations during the predicted outburst time display a strong similarity with the observed optical pericenter flare from OJ 287 during 2007 September. The predicted flare appears comparable to the 2007 flare after subtracting the expected higher base-level Spitzer flux densities at 3.55 and 4.49 μm compared to the optical R-band. Comparing the 2019 and 2007 outburst lightcurves and the previously calculated predictions, we find that the Eddington flare arrived within 4 hr of the predicted time. Our Spitzer observations are well consistent with the presence of a nano-Hertz gravitational-wave emitting spinning massive binary BH that inspirals along a general relativistic eccentric orbit in OJ 287. These multi-epoch Spitzer observations provide a parametric constraint on the celebrated BH no-hair theorem.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Laine, Seppo0000-0003-1250-8314
Dey, Lankeswar0000-0002-2554-0674
Valtonen, Mauri0000-0001-8580-8874
Gopakumar, A.0000-0003-4274-4369
Zola, Stanislaw0000-0003-3609-382X
Komossa, S.0000-0002-9214-4428
Pihajoki, Pauli0000-0003-1758-1908
Gómez, José L.0000-0003-4190-7613
Ciprini, Stefano0000-0002-0712-2479
Gazeas, Kosmas0000-0002-8855-3923
Godunova, Vira0000-0001-7668-7994
Hudec, Rene0000-0002-7273-7349
Kong, Albert K. H.0000-0002-5105-344X
Liakos, Alexios0000-0002-0490-1469
Reichart, Daniel E.0000-0002-5060-3673
Simon, Andrii0000-0003-0404-5559
Sonbas, Eda0000-0002-6909-192X
Additional Information:© 2020 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2020 February 7; accepted 2020 February 25; published 2020 April 28. We thank Sean Carey for useful discussions on Spitzer data. This work is based in part on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA. L.D. and A.G. acknowledge support of the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India, under project No. 12-R&D-TFR-5.02-0200. S.Z. acknowledges grant No. NCN 2018/29/B/ST9/01793.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Atomic Energy (India)12-R&D-TFR-5.02-0200
National Science Centre (Poland)2018/29/B/ST9/01793
Subject Keywords:Gravitation ; Black hole physics ; BL Lacertae objects
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Gravitation (661); Black hole physics (159); BL Lacertae objects (158)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200428-085509052
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Seppo Laine et al 2020 ApJL 894 L1
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:102834
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:28 Apr 2020 16:12
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:15

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