EDP Sciences
Free access
Issue
A&A
Volume 375, Number 3, September 2001
Page(s) 739 - 751
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20010675


A&A 375, 739-751 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20010675

Hard X-ray properties of blazars

D. Donato1, G. Ghisellini1, G. Tagliaferri1 and G. Fossati2

1  Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Via Bianchi 46, 23807 Merate, Italy
2  Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences, University of California at San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0424, USA

(Received 16 February 2001 / Accepted 3 May 2001)

Abstract
We have considered all blazars observed in the X-ray band and for which the slope of the X-ray spectrum is available. We have collected 421 spectra of 268 blazars, including 12 archival unpublished ASCA spectra of 7 blazars whose analysis is presented here. The X-ray spectra of blazars show trends as a function of their power, confirming that the blazar overall energy distribution can be parameterized on the basis of one parameter only, i.e. the bolometric luminosity. This is confirmed by the relatively new hard (2-10 keV) X-ray data. Our results confirm the idea that in low power objects the X-ray emission mechanism is the synchrotron process, dominating both the soft and the hard X-ray emissions. Low energy peaked BL Lac objects are intermediate, often showing harder spectra in the hard X-ray band, suggesting that the synchrotron process dominates in the soft band, with the inverse Compton process dominating at high energies. The most powerful objects have X-ray spectra that are flat both in the soft and in the hard band, consistent with a dominating inverse Compton component.


Key words: BL Lacertae objects: general -- X -- rays: galaxies

Offprint request: G. Ghisellini, Gabriele@merate.mi.astro.it

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