Volume 384, Number 3, March IV 2002
|Page(s)||834 - 847|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||15 March 2002|
On the origin of highest energy gamma-rays from Mkn 501
Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik, Saupfercheckweg 1, 69117, Heidelberg, Germany
2 Sternberg Astronomical Institute, Universitetskij pr. 13, 119899, Moscow, Russia
3 Altai State University, Dimitrov Street 66, 656099 Barnaul, Russia
Corresponding author: F. A. Aharonian, Felix.Aharonian@mpi-hd.mpg.de
Accepted: 11 January 2002
The spectra of very high energy γ-radiation from distant extragalactic objects suffer significant deformations during the passage of primary γ-rays through the intergalactic medium. The recently reported fluxes of diffuse infrared background radiation indicate that we detect, most probably, heavily absorbed TeV radiation from Mkn 421 and Mkn 501. This implies that the absorption-corrected spectrum of Mkn 501 may contain a sharp pile-up which contradicts to the predictions of the conventional models of TeV blazars, and thus may lead to the so-called “IR background-TeV gamma-ray crisis”. To overcome this difficulty, in this paper we propose two independent hypotheses assuming that (i) the TeV radiation from Mkn 501 has a secondary origin, i.e. it is formed during the development of electron-photon cascades in the intergalactic medium initiated by primary γ-rays; (ii) the pile-up in the source spectrum is a result of comptonization (in deep Klein-Nishina regime) of ambient optical radiation by an ultrarelativistic conical cold outflow (jet) with bulk motion Lorentz factor . Within the uncertainties caused by the limited energy resolution of spectral measurements, the observed TeV radiation of Mkn 501 formally can be explained by the intergalactic cascade γ-rays, assuming however an extremely low intergalactic magnetic field in the direction to the source at the level of 10. We also demonstrate that the “bulk motion comptonization” scenario can quite naturally reproduce the unusual spectral features in the absorption-corrected TeV spectrum of Mkn 501, and briefly discuss the astrophysical implications of this hypothesis.
Key words: galaxies: BL Lacertae objects: individual: Mkn 501 / cosmology: diffuse radiation / gamma rays: observations / gamma rays: theory
© ESO, 2002
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