Volume 642, October 2020
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Published online||13 October 2020|
Multi-waveband quasi-periodic oscillations in the light curves of blazar CTA 102 during its 2016–2017 optical outburst
Department of High Energy Physics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai 400005, India
2 Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Manora Peak, Nainital 263001, India
3 Department of Physics, The College of New Jersey, PO Box 7718 Ewing, NJ 08628-0718, USA
Accepted: 24 August 2020
Context. Quasi-periodic fluctuations in the light curves of blazars can provide insight into the underlying emission process. This type of flux modulation hints at periodic physical processes that result in emission. CTA 102, a flat spectrum radio quasar at a redshift of 1.032, has displayed significant activity since 2016. The multi-waveband light curve of CTA 102 shows signs of quasi-periodic oscillations during the 2016–2017 flare.
Aims. Our goal is to rigorously quantify the presence of any possible periodicity in the emitted flux during the mentioned period and to explore the possible causes that can give rise to it.
Methods. Techniques such as the Lomb-Scargle periodogram and weighted wavelet z-transform were employed to observe the power emitted at different frequencies. To quantify the significance of the dominant period, Monte-Carlo techniques were employed to consider an underlying smooth bending power-law model for the power spectrum. In addition, the light curve was modeled using an autoregressive process (AR1) to analytically obtain the significance of the dominant period. Lastly, the light curve was modeled using a generalized autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) process to check whether introducing a seasonal (periodic) component results in a statistically preferable model.
Results. Highly significant, simultaneous quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs) were observed in the γ-ray and optical fluxes of blazar CTA 102 during its highest optical activity episode in 2016–2017. The periodic flux modulation had a dominant period of ∼7.6 days and lasted for ∼8 cycles (MJD 57710–57770). All of the methods used point toward significant (> 4σ) quasi-periodic modulation in both γ-ray and optical fluxes.
Conclusions. Several possible models were explored while probing the origin of the periodicity, and by extension, the 2016–2017 optical flare. The best explanation for the detected QPO appears to be a region of enhanced emission (blob), moving helically inside the jet.
Key words: galaxies: individual: CTA 102 / galaxies: active / galaxies: jets / radiation mechanisms: non-thermal / gamma rays: galaxies
© ESO 2020
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