Astronomers have observed long-wavelength smoke from the blazar PKS 0537-286

Multiwavelength light angle of PKS 0537-286. Credit: Sahakyan et al, 2023

Using three telescopes, Armenian astronomers have observed a red supernova called PKS 0537-286. The results of the observation campaign, which was presented on February 15 on the pre-published server arXivdeliver important information about the properties and origin of many airs from this source.

Blazars, classified as the largest members of the group of active galaxies that host active nuclei (AGN), are the most abundant sources of extragalactic gamma-rays. Their characteristic features are parallel planes that are pointed almost to Earth. Based on their optical emission properties, astronomers divide blazars into two classes: Flat-spectrum radio quasars (FSRQs) that have prominent emission lines, and BL Lacertae objects (BL Lacs), which do not.

At a redshift of 3.1 and with a calculated luminosity at the level of one quattuordecillion erg/s (in the range of 0.1-2.0 keV), PKS 0537-286 is one of the reddest stars, classified as FSRQ. The source emits gamma-ray flares, making it the most distant gamma-ray flare detected so far.

A team of astronomers led by Narek Sahakyan of the International Astrophysics Network (ICRANet) conducted optical/ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma-ray studies of PKS 0537-286 to shed more light on the emission of this blazar. For this purpose they used NASA’s Fermi, NuSTAR and Swift telescopes.

“We present a multi-frequency and temporal analysis of the high-redshift blazar PKS 0537-286 by analyzing data from Fermi-LAT, NuSTAR Swift XRT and UVOT,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

The team analyzed data collected over a period of 14 years (between 2008 and 2022). It was found that the gamma-ray emission from PKS 0537-286 appeared to be constant until 2017, when several strong fields were detected. After that, the blazar is in the active gamma-ray emission mode when the gamma-ray emission reaches 61.4 quindecillion erg/s. Throughout the campaign, the source’s gamma-ray irradiance exceeded quindecillion erg/s for about 62 days in total.

In addition, the study found that the gamma-ray photon index of PKS 0537-286 also shows the observed time variation. The average value of the gamma-ray photon index during non-ignition periods was measured to be about 2.83, which stiffens significantly during flashes. It appears as an average anti-correlation between the mean gamma-ray photon index and the blazar’s luminosity.

Based on the observations, PKS 0537-286 is very bright and in the X-ray band with a luminosity of 0.3–10 keV between 0.1 and 1.0 quindecillion erg/s. The X-ray emission of this blazar is characterized by a strong spectrum below 1.38.

Astronomers concluded that the lights of PKS 0537-286 are likely due to the hardness of the electronic sensor that emits and converts the energy that is cut into a larger one.

“The modeling of the model in the quiescent to flaring states shows that the flash is caused by changes in the distribution of electricity, i.e., the calculation of the power of the electric power is hardened to 𝑝 = 2.2 ± 0.1 and the cut energy is 𝛾cut = (2.5 ± 0.2) × 103“The authors of the newspaper stated.

Additional information:
N. Sahakyan et al, Origin of the high-altitude liquid gas from the high redshift blazar PKS 0537-286, arXiv (2023). DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2302.07682

Journal information:

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