EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 483, Number 1, May III 2008
Page(s) 1 - 5
Section Astrophysical processes
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20079074
Published online 04 February 2008

A&A 483, 1-5 (2008)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20079074

Intergalactic absorption and blazar $\mathsf{\gamma}$-ray spectra

M. Persic1 and A. De Angelis2, 3

1  INAF and INFN, via G.B.Tiepolo 11, 34143 Trieste, Italy
    e-mail: persic@oats.inaf.it
2  Università di Udine and INFN, via delle Scienze 208, 33100 Udine, Italy
3  Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisboa, Portugal

(Received 15 November 2007 / Accepted 29 January 2008)

The distribution of TeV spectral slopes versus redshift for currently known TeV blazars (16 sources with z $\leq$ 0.21, and one with z > 0.25) is essentially a scatter plot with hardly any hint of a global trend. We suggest that this is the outcome of two combined effects of intergalactic $\gamma\gamma$ absorption, plus an inherent feature of the SSC (synchro-self-Compton) process of blazar emission. First, flux dimming introduces a bias that favors detection of progressively more flaring sources at higher redshifts. According to mainstream SSC models, more flaring source states imply sources with flatter TeV slopes. This results in a structured relation between intrinsic TeV slope and redshift. The second effect, spectral steepening by intergalactic absorption, affects sources progressively with distance and effectively wipes out the intrinsic slope-redshift correlation.

Key words: galaxies: BL Lacertae objects: general -- gamma rays: observations -- cosmology: diffuse radiation

© ESO 2008