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Published May 12, 2014 | Published + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Detection of significant cm to sub-mm band radio and γ-ray correlated variability in Fermi bright blazars


The exact location of the γ-ray emitting region in blazars is still controversial. In order to attack this problem we present first results of a cross-correlation analysis between radio (11 cm to 0.8 mm wavelength, F-GAMMA programme) and γ-ray (0.1–300 GeV) ∼3.5 yr light curves of 54 Fermi-bright blazars. We perform a source stacking analysis and estimate significances and chance correlations using mixed source correlations. Our results reveal: (i) the first highly significant multiband radio and γ-ray correlations (radio lagging γ rays) when averaging over the whole sample, (ii) average time delays (source frame: 76 ± 23 to 7 ± 9 d), systematically decreasing from cm to mm/sub-mm bands with a frequency dependence τ_(r, γ)(ν) ∝ ν^(−1), in good agreement with jet opacity dominated by synchrotron self-absorption, (iii) a bulk γ-ray production region typically located within/upstream of the 3 mm core region (τ_(3mm, γ) = 12 ± 8 d), (iv) mean distances between the region of γ-ray peak emission and the radio 'τ = 1 photosphere' decreasing from 9.8 ± 3.0 pc (11 cm) to 0.9 ± 1.1 pc (2 mm) and 1.4 ± 0.8 pc (0.8 mm), (v) 3 mm/γ-ray correlations in nine individual sources at a significance level where one is expected by chance (probability: 4 × 10^(−6)), (vi) opacity and 'time lag core shift' estimates for quasar 3C 454.3 providing a lower limit for the distance of the bulk γ-ray production region from the supermassive black hole (SMBH) of ∼0.8–1.6 pc, i.e. at the outer edge of the broad-line region (BLR) or beyond. A 3 mm τ = 1 surface at ∼2–3 pc from the jet base (i.e. well outside the 'canonical BLR') finally suggests that BLR material extends to several parsec distances from the SMBH.

Additional Information

© 2014 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. Accepted 2014 March 7. Received 2014 March 4; in original form 2013 November 20. This research is based on observations with the 100-m telescope of the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie (MPIfR) at Effelsberg. This work has made use of observations with the IRAM 30-m telescope. IRAMis supported by INSU/CNRS (France),MPG (Germany) and IGN (Spain). Part of this work was supported by the COST Action MP0905 'Black Holes in a Violent Universe'. SL also acknowledges support by a grant from the Royal Swedish Academy Crafoord Foundation. The Fermi LAT Collaboration acknowledges generous ongoing support from a number of agencies and institutes that have supported both the development and the operation of the LAT as well as scientific data analysis. These include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Energy in the USA, the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/Institut National de Physique Nucléaire et de Physique des Particules in France, the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana and the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare in Italy, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in Japan, and the K. A.Wallenberg Foundation, the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish National Space Board in Sweden. Additional support for science analysis during the operations phase is gratefully acknowledged from the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica in Italy and the Centre National d' Études Spatiales in France. IN is supported for this research through a stipend from the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Universities of Bonn and Cologne. We thank Charles Dermer, Andrei Lobanov and the referee for valuable comments and suggestions.

Attached Files

Published - MNRAS-2014-Fuhrmann-1899-909.pdf

Supplemental Material - table_online.txt


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