This article has an erratum: [https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201935422e]
Volume 630, October 2019
|Number of page(s)||17|
|Published online||02 October 2019|
A cosmic collider: Was the IceCube neutrino generated in a precessing jet-jet interaction in TXS 0506+056?
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl, Heidelberg, Germany
3 Centre for Space Research, North-West University, Potchefstroom, 2531, South Africa
4 I. Physikalisches Institut, Universität Köln, Zülpicher Str. 77, Köln, Germany
5 Center for Theoretical Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Al. Lotników 32/46, 02-668 Warsaw, Poland
6 Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation, University of Bonn, Nußallee 17, 53115 Bonn, Germany
7 Astro Space Center, Lebedev Physical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
8 Astronomical Institute, Academy of Sciences, Boční II 1401, 14131 Prague, Czech Republic
9 ELI Beamlines, Institute of Physics, Czech Academy of Sciences, 25241 Dolní Břežany, Czech Republic
10 Abastumani Observatory, Mt. Kanobili, 0301 Abastumani, Georgia
Accepted: 26 July 2019
Context. The neutrino event IceCube−170922A appears to originate from the BL Lac object TXS 0506+056. To understand the neutrino creation process and to localize the emission site, we studied the radio images of the jet at 15 GHz.
Aims. Other BL Lac objects show properties similar to those of TXS 0506+056, such as multiwavelength variability or a curved jet. However, to date only TXS 0506+056 has been identified as neutrino emitter. The aim of this paper is to determine what makes the parsec-scale jet of TXS 0506+056 specific in this respect.
Methods. We reanalyzed and remodeled 16 VLBA 15 GHz observations between 2009 and 2018. We thoroughly examined the jet kinematics and flux-density evolution of individual jet components during the time of enhanced neutrino activity between September 2014 and March 2015, and in particular before and after the neutrino event.
Results. Our results suggest that the jet is very strongly curved and most likely observable under a special viewing angle of close to zero. We may observe the interaction between jet features that cross each other’s paths. We find subsequent flux-density flaring of six components passing the likely collision site. In addition, we find a strong indication for precession of the inner jet, and model a precession period of about 10 yr via the Lense-Thirring effect. We discuss an alternative scenario, which is the interpretation of observing the signature of two jets within TXS 0506+056, again hinting toward a collision of jetted material. We essentially suggest that the neutrino emission may result from the interaction of jetted material in combination with a special viewing angle and jet precession.
Conclusions. We propose that the enhanced neutrino activity during the neutrino flare in 2014–2015 and the single EHE neutrino IceCube-170922A could have been generated by a cosmic collision within TXS 0506+056. Our findings seem capable of explaining the neutrino generation at the time of a low gamma-ray flux and also indicate that TXS 0506+056 might be an atypical blazar. It seems to be the first time that a potential collision of two jets on parsec scales has been reported and that the detection of a cosmic neutrino might be traced back to a cosmic jet-collision.
Key words: black hole physics / techniques: interferometric / BL Lacertae objects: individual: TXS 0506+056
© S. Britzen et al. 2019
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Open Access funding provided by Max Planck Society.
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