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Astrophysics and Astronomy | Physical Sciences and Mathematics
1.3 PHYSICAL SCIENCES
We report on the detection of a very rapid TeV gamma-ray flare from BL Lacertae on 2011 June 28 with the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS). The flaring activity was observed during a 34.6 minute exposure, when the integral flux above 200 GeV reached (3.4 ± 0.6) × 10–6 photons m–2 s–1, roughly 125% of the Crab Nebula flux measured by VERITAS. The light curve indicates that the observations missed the rising phase of the flare but covered a significant portion of the decaying phase. The exponential decay time was determined to be 13 ± 4 minutes, making it one of the most rapid gamma-ray flares seen from a TeV blazar. The gamma-ray spectrum of BL Lacertae during the flare was soft, with a photon index of 3.6 ± 0.4, which is in agreement with the measurement made previously by MAGIC in a lower flaring state. Contemporaneous radio observations of the source with the Very Long Baseline Array revealed the emergence of a new, superluminal component from the core around the time of the TeV gamma-ray flare, accompanied by changes in the optical polarization angle. Changes in flux also appear to have occurred at optical, UV, and GeV gamma-ray wavelengths at the time of the flare, although they are difficult to quantify precisely due to sparse coverage. A strong flare was seen at radio wavelengths roughly four months later, which might be related to the gamma-ray flaring activities. We discuss the implications of these multiwavelength results.
Arlen, T. et al. (2013) ‘RAPID TeV GAMMA-RAY FLARING OF BL LACERTAE’, The Astrophysical Journal, 762(2), p. 92. doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/762/2/92.