VLBA observations of radio faint Fermi-LAT sources above 10 GeV
1 INAF Istituto di Radioastronomia, via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
2 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy
Received: 22 April 2016
Accepted: 11 July 2016
Context. The first Fermi-LAT high-energy source catalog (1FHL), containing γ-ray sources detected above 10 GeV, is an ideal sample for characterizing the physical properties of the most extreme γ-ray sources.
Aims. We investigate the pc scale properties of a subsample of radio faint 1FHL sources with the aim of confirming the proposed blazar associations by revealing a compact high brightness temperature radio core, and we propose new low-frequency counterparts for the unassociated γ-ray sources (UGS). Moreover, we increase the number of 1FHL sources with high-resolution observations to explore the possible connection between radio and γ rays at E> 10 GeV.
Methods. We observed 84 1FHL sources, mostly blazars of high synchrotron peaked (HSP) type, in the northern sky with the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) at 5 GHz. These sources lack high-resolution radio observations and have at least one NRAO VLA sky survey counterpart within the 95% confidence radius. For those sources without a well-identified radio counterpart we exploit the VLBA multiple phase-center correlation capability to identify the possible low-frequency candidates.
Results. For ~93% of the sources in our sample we reveal a compact high brightness temperature radio core, which supports their proposed blazar association. The vast majority of the detected sources are radio weak, with a median VLBI flux density value of 16.3 mJy. For the detected sources we obtain an average brightness temperature on the order of 2 × 1010 K. We find a compact component for 16 UGS, for which we propose a new low-frequency association.
Conclusions. We find brightness temperature values that do not require high Doppler factors, and are in agreement with the expected values for the equipartition of energy between particles and magnetic field. We find strong indications for the blazar nature of all of the detected UGS, for which we propose new low-frequency associations. The characterization of the physical properties of this emerging population is relevant in view of the construction of the new generation Cherenkov Telescope Array.
Key words: galaxies: active / gamma rays: galaxies / BL Lacertae objects: general
© ESO, 2016