Exploring the connection between radio and GeV-TeV γ-ray emission in the 1FHL and 2FHL AGN samples
1 INAF – Istituto di Radioastronomia, via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
2 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università di Bologna, via Gobetti 93/3, 40129 Bologna, Italy
3 ASI – Unità Ricerca Scientifica, via del Politecnico snc, 00133 Roma, Italy
4 Department of Physics and Institute for Plasma Physics, University of Crete, 71003 Heraklion, Greece
5 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, via E. Bianchi 46, 23807 Merate, Italy
Received: 5 May 2017
Accepted: 12 August 2017
Context. With the advent of the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) it was revealed that blazars, representing the most extreme radio-loud active galactic nuclei (AGN) population, dominate the census of the γ-ray sky, and a significant correlation was found between radio and γ-ray emission in the 0.1−100 GeV energy range. However, the possible connection between radio and very high energy (VHE, E> 0.1 TeV) emission still remains elusive, owing to the lack of a homogeneous coverage of the VHE sky.
Aims. The main goal of this work is to quantify and assess the significance of a possible connection between the radio emission on parsec scale measured by the very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) and GeV-TeV γ-ray emission in blazars, which is a central issue for understanding blazar physics and the emission processes in these objects.
Methods. We investigate the radio VLBI and high energy γ-ray emission by using two large and unbiased AGN samples extracted from the first and second Fermi-LAT catalogs of hard γ-ray sources detected above 10 GeV (1FHL) and 50 GeV (2FHL). For comparison, we perform the same correlation analysis by using the 0.1−300 GeV γ-ray energy flux provided by the third Fermi-LAT source catalog (3FGL). We assess the correlation’s statistical significance by means of a method based on permutations of the luminosities, by taking into account the various observational biases, which may apparently enhance or spoil any intrinsic correlation.
Results. We find that the correlation strength and significance depend on the γ-ray energy range, with a different behavior among the blazar sub-classes. Overall, the radio and γ-ray emission above 10 GeV turns out to be uncorrelated for the full samples and for all of the blazar sub-classes with the exception of high synchrotron peaked (HSP) objects, which show a strong and significant correlation. On the contrary, when 0.1−300 GeV γ-ray energies are considered, a strong and significant correlation is found for the full blazar sample as well as for all of the blazar sub-classes.
Conclusions. We interpret and explain this correlation behavior within the framework of the blazar spectral energy distribution properties. In the most powerful blazars, which are in general of low synchrotron peaked type, the high energy emission component peaks at energies lower than those sampled by the LAT. On the contrary, in HSP blazars the part of the high energy spectrum affected by cooling effects is well beyond the energy range sampled by the LAT, showing a rising spectrum both in the 3FGL and 1FHL/2FHL energy ranges.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: statistics / gamma rays: galaxies / radio continuum: galaxies / BL Lacertae objects: general / quasars: general
© ESO, 2017