Giovanni Fossati - Rice University, Houston, TX

Giovanni Fossati
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Giovanni Fossati
Rice University, Houston, TX
United States

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (11)
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (5)
Astrophysics (2)

Publications Authored By Giovanni Fossati

Affiliations: 1Ohio University, Athens, OH, 2North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa, 3Rice University, Houston, TX

We introduce a new time-dependent lepto-hadronic model for blazar emission that takes into account the radiation emitted by secondary particles, such as pions and muons, from photo hadronic interactions. Starting from a baseline parameter set guided by a fit to the spectral energy distribution of the blazar 3C 279, we perform a parameter study to investigate the effects of perturbations of the input parameters to mimic different flaring events to study the resulting lightcurves in the optical, X-ray, high energy (HE: E > 100 MeV) and very-high-energy (VHE: E > 100 GeV) gamma-rays as well as the neutrino emission associated with charged-pion and muon decay. We find that flaring events from an increase in the efficiency of Fermi II acceleration will produce a positive correlation between all bandpasses and a marked plateau in the HE gamma-ray lightcurve. Read More

We perform time-dependent, spatially-resolved simulations of blazar emission to evaluate several flaring scenarios related to magnetic-field amplification and enhanced particle acceleration. The code explicitly accounts for light-travel-time effects and is applied to flares observed in the flat spectrum radio quasar (FSRQ) PKS 0208-512, which show optical/{\gamma}-ray correlation at some times, but orphan optical flares at other times. Changes in both the magnetic field and the particle acceleration efficiency are explored as causes of flares. Read More

Recent multiwavelength observations of PKS 0208-512 by SMARTS, Fermi, and Swift revealed that gamma-ray and optical light curves of this flat spectrum radio quasars are highly correlated, but with an exception of one large optical flare having no corresponding gamma-ray activity or even detection. On the other hand, recent advances in SNRs observations and plasma simulations both reveal that magnetic field downstream of astrophysical shocks can be largely amplified beyond simple shock compression. These amplifications, along with their associated particle acceleration, might contribute to blazar flares, including the peculiar flare of PKS 0208-512. Read More

[abridged] We present results of modeling the SED and multiwavelength variability of the bright FSRQ PKS1510-089 with our time-dependent multizone Monte Carlo/Fokker-Planck code (Chen et al. 2001). As primary source of seed photons for inverse Compton scattering, we consider radiation from the broad line region (BLR), from the molecular torus, and the local synchrotron radiation (SSC). Read More

In recent work, we have identified two sub-populations of radio-loud AGN which appear to be distinguished by jet structure, where low-efficiency accreting systems produce `weak' jets which decelerate more rapidly than the `strong' jets of black holes accreting near the Eddington limit. The two classes are comprised of: (1) The weak jet sources, corresponding to FR I radio galaxies, having a decelerating or spine-sheath jet with velocity gradients, and (2) The strong jet sources, having fast, collimated jets, and typically displaying strong emission lines. The dichotomy in the \nu_peak-L_peak plane can be understood as a `broken power sequence' in which jets exist on one branch or the other based on the particular accretion mode. Read More

We present the first collective evidence that Fermi-detected jets of high kinetic power (L_kin) are dominated by inverse Compton emission from upscattered external photons. Using a sample with a broad range in orientation angle, including radio galaxies and blazars, we find that very high power sources (L_kin > 10^45.5 erg s^{-1}) show a significant increase in the ratio of inverse Compton to synchrotron power (Compton dominance) with decreasing orientation angle, as measured by the radio core dominance and confirmed by the distribution of superluminal speeds. Read More

In examining a select sample of over 200 blazars of known jet kinetic power (L_kin) and well-characterized SEDs, we found (Meyer et al., 2011) that Intermediate synchrotron-peaking (ISP) blazars may have lower gamma-ray output than high synchrotron-peaking (HSP) blazars of similar L_kin, consistent with our hypothesis that ISP blazars are less-beamed versions of HSP blazars, rather than a distinct population. Further, by using the radio core dominance as a measure of relative beaming, we find that gamma-ray luminosity depends on beaming in a consistent way for blazars ranging over all jet kinetic powers (10^42 - 10^46 ergs/s). Read More

We recently argued (Meyer 2011) that the collective properties of radio loud active galactic nuclei point to the existence of two families of sources, one of powerful sources with single velocity jets and one of weaker jets with significant velocity gradients in the radiating plasma. These families also correspond to different accretion modes and therefore different thermal and emission line intrinsic properties: powerful sources have radiatively efficient accretion disks, while in weak sources accretion must be radiatively inefficient. Here, after we briefly review of our recent work, we present the following findings that support our unification scheme: (i) along the broken sequence of aligned objects, the jet kinetic power increases. Read More

We revisit the concept of a blazar sequence that relates the synchrotron peak frequency ({\nu}peak) in blazars with synchrotron peak luminosity (Lpeak, in {\nu}L{\nu}) using a large sample of radio-loud AGN. We present observational evidence that the blazar sequence is formed from two populations in the synchrotron {\nu}peak - Lpeak plane, each forming an upper edge to an envelope of progressively misaligned blazars, and connecting to an adjacent group of radio galaxies having jets viewed at much larger angles to the line of sight. When binned by jet kinetic power (Lkin; as measured through a scaling relationship with extended radio power), we find that radio core dominance decreases with decreasing synchrotron Lpeak, revealing that sources in the envelope are generally more misaligned. Read More

(abridged) We present a new time-dependent multi-zone radiative transfer code and its application to study the SSC emission of Mrk 421. The code couples Fokker-Planck and Monte Carlo methods, in a 2D geometry. For the first time all the light travel time effects (LCTE) are fully considered, along with a proper treatment of Compton cooling, which depends on them. Read More

We use Monte Carlo/Fokker-Planck simulations to study the X-ray time lags. Our results show that soft lags will be observed as long as the decay of the flare is dominated by radiative cooling, even when acceleration and cooling timescales are similar. Hard lags can be produced in presence of a competitive achromatic particle energy loss mechanism if the acceleration process operates on a timescale such that particles are slowly moved towards higher energy while the flare evolves. Read More

The BL Lac object Mkn 501 was observed with the BeppoSAX satellite at three epochs in April-May 1998, simultaneously with the Whipple and HEGRA Cherenkov telescopes. The X-ray spectrum is well detected up to 70 keV and it exhibits, at all epochs, a continuous curvature, which is here modeled with three power-laws of increasingly steeper index at larger energies. In the nu*f_nu representation the spectrum exhibits a peak at ~20 keV, which is interpreted as the maximum of the synchrotron emission. Read More

Average Spectral Energy Distributions (SED) for different subgroups of blazars are derived from available homogeneous (but small) data sets, including the gamma-ray band. Comparing Flat Spectrum Radio Quasars (FSRQ) with BL Lacs extracted from radio (RBL) or X-ray surveys (XBL) remarkable differences and similarities are apparent: i) in all cases the overall SED from radio to gamma-rays shows two peaks; ii) the first and second peak fall in different frequency ranges for different objects, with a tendency for the most luminous objects to peak at lower frequencies; iii) the ratio between the two peak frequencies seems to be constant, while the luminosity ratio between the high and low frequency component increases from XBL to RBL and FSRQ. The variability properties, (amplitude and frequency dependence) are similar in different objects if referred to their respective peak frequencies. Read More