Document Type

Article

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Disciplines

Astrophysics and Astronomy | Physical Sciences and Mathematics

CIT Disciplines

1.3 PHYSICAL SCIENCES

Publication Details

The Astrophysical Journal .

© 2015. The American Astronomical Society

Abstract

We present results from VERITAS observations of the BL Lac object PG 1553+113 spanning the years 2010, 2011, and 2012. The time-averaged spectrum, measured between 160 and 560 GeV, is well described by a power law with a spectral index of 4.33 ± 0.09. The time-averaged integral flux above 200 GeV measured for this period was (1.69 ± 0.06) × 10–11 photons cm–2 s–1, corresponding to 6.9% of the Crab Nebula flux. We also present the combined γ-ray spectrum from the Fermi Large Area Telescope and VERITAS covering an energy range from 100 MeV to 560 GeV. The data are well fit by a power law with an exponential cutoff at 101.9 ± 3.2 GeV. The origin of the cutoff could be intrinsic to PG 1553+113 or be due to the γ-ray opacity of our universe through pair production off the extragalactic background light (EBL). Given lower limits to the redshift of z > 0.395 based on optical/UV observations of PG 1553+113, the cutoff would be dominated by EBL absorption. Conversely, the small statistical uncertainties of the VERITAS energy spectrum have allowed us to provide a robust upper limit on the redshift of PG 1553+113 of z ≤ 0.62. A strongly elevated mean flux of (2.50 ± 0.14) × 10–11 photons cm–2 s–1 (10.3% of the Crab Nebula flux) was observed during 2012, with the daily flux reaching as high as (18.3% of the Crab Nebula flux) on MJD 56048. The light curve measured during the 2012 observing season is marginally inconsistent with a steady flux, giving a χ2 probability for a steady flux of 0.03%.

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