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Published November 1, 2011 | Published
Journal Article Open

The Radio/Gamma-Ray Connection in Active Galactic Nuclei in the Era of the FERMI Large Area Telescope


We present a detailed statistical analysis of the correlation between radio and gamma-ray emission of the active galactic nuclei (AGNs) detected by Fermi during its first year of operation, with the largest data sets ever used for this purpose. We use both archival interferometric 8.4 GHz data (from the Very Large Array and ATCA, for the full sample of 599 sources) and concurrent single-dish 15 GHz measurements from the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO, for a sub sample of 199 objects). Our unprecedentedly large sample permits us to assess with high accuracy the statistical significance of the correlation, using a surrogate data method designed to simultaneously account for common-distance bias and the effect of a limited dynamical range in the observed quantities. We find that the statistical significance of a positive correlation between the centimeter radio and the broadband (E > 100 MeV) gamma-ray energy flux is very high for the whole AGN sample, with a probability of <10^(–7) for the correlation appearing by chance. Using the OVRO data, we find that concurrent data improve the significance of the correlation from 1.6 × 10^(–6) to 9.0 × 10^(–8). Our large sample size allows us to study the dependence of correlation strength and significance on specific source types and gamma-ray energy band. We find that the correlation is very significant (chance probability < 10^(–7)) for both flat spectrum radio quasars and BL Lac objects separately; a dependence of the correlation strength on the considered gamma-ray energy band is also present, but additional data will be necessary to constrain its significance.

Additional Information

© 2011 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 November 25; accepted 2011 July 28; published 2011 October 12. 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 LAT as well as scientific data analysis. These include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Energy in the United States, 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. Facilities: Fermi, OVRO:40m, VLA, ATCA

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