THE BRIGHTEST GAMMA-RAY FLARING BLAZAR IN THE SKY: AGILE AND MULTI-WAVELENGTH OBSERVATIONS OF 3C 454.3 DURING 2010 NOVEMBER
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Since 2005, the blazar 3C 454.3 has shown remarkable flaring activity at all frequencies, and during the last four years it has exhibited more than one γ-ray flare per year, becoming the most active γ-ray blazar in the sky. We present for the first time the multi-wavelength AGILE, Swift, INTEGRAL, and GASP-WEBT data collected in order to explain the extraordinary γ-ray flare of 3C 454.3 which occurred in 2010 November. On 2010 November 20 (MJD 55520), 3C 454.3 reached a peak flux (E >100 MeV) of F[superscript p] γ = (6.8 ± 1.0) × 10[superscript –5] photons cm[superscript –2] s[superscript –1] on a timescale of about 12 hr, more than a factor of six higher than the flux of the brightest steady γ-ray source, the Vela pulsar, and more than a factor of three brighter than its previous super-flare on 2009 December 2-3. The multi-wavelength data make possible a thorough study of the present event: the comparison with the previous outbursts indicates a close similarity to the one that occurred in 2009. By comparing the broadband emission before, during, and after the γ-ray flare, we find that the radio, optical, and X-ray emission varies within a factor of 2-3, whereas the γ-ray flux by a factor of 10. This remarkable behavior is modeled by an external Compton component driven by a substantial local enhancement of soft seed photons.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
The Astrophysical Journal. Letters
Vercellone, S., E. Striani, V. Vittorini, I. Donnarumma, L. Pacciani, G. Pucella, M. Tavani, et al. “THE BRIGHTEST GAMMA-RAY FLARING BLAZAR IN THE SKY: AGILE AND MULTI-WAVELENGTH OBSERVATIONS OF 3C 454.3 DURING 2010 NOVEMBER.” The Astrophysical Journal 736, no. 2 (July 13, 2011): L38. © 2011 The American Astronomical Society
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