EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 410, Number 1, October IV 2003
Page(s) 101 - 115
Section Galactic structure and dynamics
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20031245

A&A 410, 101-115 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20031245

The multifrequency variability of Mrk 421

K. Katarzynski1, 2, H. Sol2 and A. Kus1

1  Torun Centre for Astronomy, Nicolaus Copernicus University, ul. Gagarina 11, 87100 Torun, Poland
2  LUTH, Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, 5 place J. Janssen, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France

(Received 10 July 2002 / Accepted 25 July 2003)

We present a model of the multifrequency variability of the blazar Mrk 421. The model explains correlated variability observed from Very High Energy (VHE) gamma rays to radio frequencies. We assume that the dominant part of the stationary emission from the radio frequencies to the X-rays is generated by the synchrotron radiation of relativistic electrons ejected from the central engine. The particles move from the center of the source with relativistic velocities and form an inhomogeneous jet. We perform detailed calculations of the radiation transfer and calculate evolution of the electron energy spectrum along the jet. We explain the observed variability by the evolving synchrotron and Inverse-Compton (IC) radiation of a compact component (a blob) which travels along the jet. Two scenarios have been considered as mechanisms to generate VHE flares. The first scenario assumes that the high energy electrons, necessary for generation of the VHE flares, are injected into the jet, directly from the central engine or from an acceleration zone (e.g., a shock wave). The second scheme assumes that the high energy electrons are generated in situ by acceleration, for example by diffusive shock waves or a localized turbulence inside the jet. The particles evolve along the jet. They are cooled by the radiative processes and by the adiabatic expansion which compete with the acceleration process and the injection of high energy electrons. We present new observations we obtained in the radio domain for Mrk 421. The radio data gathered in February-April 2001 show a well defined radio outburst which corresponds to an X-ray outburst observed by RXTE-ASM and a gamma-ray flare detected by HEGRA in the TeV range. The best of our knowledge, this is the first direct observational evidence for a flare observed simultaneously in the radio range and at very high energies. Our scenario with acceleration of electrons in the middle part of the jet describes well the temporal evolution of such multispectral flare.

Key words: radiation mechanisms: non-thermal -- galaxies: active -- BL Lacertae objects: individual: Mrk 421

Offprint request: K. Katarzynski, kat@astro.uni.torun.pl

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© ESO 2003

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