Hard X-ray properties of NuSTAR blazars
Astronomical Observatory, Jagiellonian University, ul. Orla 171, 30-244 Kraków, Poland
2 Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Akademika Hlushkova Ave 4b, 02000 Kyiv, Ukraine
Accepted: 8 August 2018
Context. Investigation of the hard X-ray emission properties of blazars is key to the understanding of the central engine of the sources and associated jet process. In particular, simultaneous spectral and timing analyses of the intraday hard X-ray observations provide us a means to peer into the compact innermost blazar regions that are not accessible to our current instruments.
Aims. The primary objective of the work is to associate the observed hard X-ray variability properties in blazars with their flux and spectral states, thereby, based on the correlation among these states, extract the details about the emission regions and processes occurring near the central engine.
Methods. We carried out timing, spectral, and cross-correlation analysis of 31 NuSTAR observations of 13 blazars. We investigated the spectral shapes of the sources using single power-law, broken power-law, and log-parabola models. We also studied the co-relation between the soft and hard emission using z-transformed discrete correlation function. In addition, we attempted to constrain the smallest emission regions using minimum variability timescales derived from the light curves.
Results. We found that, for most of the sources, the hard X-ray emission can be well represented by the log-parabola model and that the spectral slopes for different blazar subclasses are consistent with the so-called blazar sequence. We also report the steepest spectra (Γ ∼ 3) in the BL Lacertae PKS 2155–304 and the hardest spectra (Γ ∼ 1.4) in the flat-spectrum radio quasar PKS 2149–306. In addition, we noted a close connection between the flux and spectral slope within the source subclass in the sense that high flux and/or flux states tend to be harder in spectra. In BL Lacertae objects, assuming particle acceleration by diffusive shocks and synchrotron cooling as the dominant processes governing the observed flux variability, we constrain the magnetic field of the emission region to be a few Gauss; whereas in flat-spectrum radio quasars, using external Compton models, we estimate the energy of the lower end of the injected electrons to be a few Lorentz factors.
Key words: accretion / accretion disks / radiation mechanisms: non-thermal / galaxies: active / BL Lacertae objects: general
© ESO 2018