Justin Finke - NRL

Justin Finke
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Justin Finke

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (24)
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (13)
Astrophysics (7)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (2)

Publications Authored By Justin Finke

Quasi-simultaneous observations of the Flat Spectrum Radio Quasar PKS 2326-502 were carried out in the gamma-ray, X-ray, UV, optical, near-infrared, and radio bands. Thanks to these observations we are able to characterize the spectral energy distribution of the source during two flaring and one quiescent gamma-ray states. These data were used to constrain one-zone leptonic models of the spectral energy distributions of each flare and investigate the physical conditions giving rise to them. Read More

The {\gamma}-ray flares from the Crab nebula observed by AGILE and Fermi-LAT reaching GeV energies and lasting several days challenge the standard models for particle acceleration in pulsar wind nebulae, because the radiating electrons have energies exceeding the classical radiation-reaction limit for synchrotron. Previous modeling has suggested that the synchrotron limit can be exceeded if the electrons experience electrostatic acceleration, but the resulting spectra do not agree very well with the data. As a result, there are still some important unanswered questions about the detailed particle acceleration and emission processes occurring during the flares. Read More

I study the location of the $\gamma$-ray emission in blazar jets by creating a Compton-scattering approximation valid for all anisotropic radiation fields in the Thomson through Klein-Nishina regimes, which is highly accurate and can speed up numerical calculations by up to a factor $\sim10$. I apply this approximation to synchrotron self-Compton, and external Compton-scattering of photons from the accretion disk, broad-line region (BLR), and dust torus. I use a stratified BLR model and include detailed Compton-scattering calculations of a spherical and flattened BLR. Read More

Electromagnetic radiation from blazar jets often displays strong variability, extending from radio to $\gamma$-ray frequencies. In a few cases, this variability has been characterized using Fourier time lags, such as those detected in the X-rays from Mrk~421 using BeppoSAX. The lack of a theoretical framework to interpret the data has motivated us to develop a new model for the formation of the X-ray spectrum and the time lags in blazar jets based on a transport equation including terms describing stochastic Fermi acceleration, synchrotron losses, shock acceleration, adiabatic expansion, and spatial diffusion. Read More

Blazars are active galactic nuclei with relativistic jets pointed at the Earth, making them extremely bright at essentially all wavelengths, from radio to gamma rays. I review the modeling of this broadband spectral energy distributions of these objects, and what we have learned, with a focus on gamma rays. Read More

Distant BL Lacertae objects emit $\gamma$ rays which interact with the extragalactic background light (EBL), creating electron-positron pairs, and reducing the flux measured by ground-based imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes (IACTs) at very-high energies (VHE). These pairs can Compton-scatter the cosmic microwave background, creating a $\gamma$-ray signature at slightly lower energies observable by the \fermi\ Large Area Telescope (LAT). This signal is strongly dependent on the intergalactic magnetic field (IGMF) strength ($B$) and its coherence length ($L_B$). Read More

The strong variability of blazars can be characterized by power spectral densities (PSDs) and Fourier frequency-dependent time lags. In previous work, we created a new theoretical formalism for describing the PSDs and time lags produced via a combination of stochastic particle injection and emission via the synchrotron, synchrotron self-Compton, and external Compton (EC) processes. This formalism used the Thomson cross section and simple $\delta$-function approximations to model the synchrotron and Compton emissivities. Read More

Fermi-LAT analyses show that the gamma-ray photon spectral indices Gamma_gamma of a large sample of blazars correlate with the vFv peak synchrotron frequency v_s according to the relation Gamma_gamma = d - k log v_s. The same function, with different constants d and k, also describes the relationship between Gamma_gamma and peak Compton frequency v_C. This behavior is derived analytically using an equipartition blazar model with a log-parabola description of the electron energy distribution (EED). Read More

We performed a systematic X-ray study of eight nearby gamma-ray bright radio galaxies with Suzaku for understanding the origin of their X-ray emissions. The Suzaku spectra for five of those have been presented previously, while the remaining three (M87, PKS0625-354, and 3C78) are presented here for the first time. Based on the Fe-K line strength, X-ray variability, and X-ray power-law photon indices, and using additional information on the [O III] line emission, we argue for a jet origin of the observed X-ray emission in these three sources. Read More

Blazars display strong variability on multiple timescales and in multiple radiation bands. Their variability is often characterized by power spectral densities (PSDs) and time lags plotted as functions of the Fourier frequency. We develop a new theoretical model based on the analysis of the electron transport (continuity) equation, carried out in the Fourier domain. Read More

Gamma rays from distant blazars interact with the extragalactic background light, creating electron-positron pairs, and reducing the gamma-ray flux measured by ground-based atmospheric Cherenkov gamma-ray telescopes. These pairs can Compton-scatter the cosmic microwave background, creating a gamma-ray signature observable by the Fermi Large Area Telesope (LAT). The signature is also dependent on the intergalactic magnetic field (IGMF), since it can deflect the pairs from our line of sight, reducing the gamma-ray emission. Read More

Blazars are the most plentiful gamma-ray source at GeV energies, and despite detailed study, there is much that is not known about these sources. In this review I explore some recent results on blazars, including the controversy of the "blazar sequence", the curvature in the LAT spectra, and the location along the jet of the gamma-ray emitting region. I conclude with a discussion of alternative modeling possibilities. Read More

The blazar sequence is reflected in a correlation of the peak luminosity versus peak frequency of the synchrotron component of blazars. This correlation has been considered one of the fundamental pieces of evidence for the existence of a continuous sequence that includes low-power BL Lacertae objects through high-power flat spectrum radio quasars. A correlation between the Compton domi- nance, the ratio of the Compton to synchrotron luminosities, and the peak synchrotron frequency is another piece of evidence for the existence of the blazar sequence explored by Fossati et al. Read More

Does the "blazar sequence" exist, or is it a result of a selection effect, due to the difficulty in measuring the redshifts of blazars with both high synchrotron peak frequencies (\gtrsim 10^{15} Hz) and luminosities (\gtrsim 10^{46} erg s^{-1})? We explore this question with a sample of blazars from the Second Catalog of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) from the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT). The Compton dominance, the ratio of the peak of the Compton to the synchrotron peak luminosities, is essentially a redshift-independent quantity, and thus crucial to answering this question. We find that a correlation exists between Compton dominance and the peak frequency of the synchrotron component for all blazars in the sample, including ones with unknown redshift. Read More

PKS 2142-758 is a flat spectrum radio quasar which emits few, weak but significant gamma-ray flares in the MeV through GeV energy range. The first flare occured on April 4th, 2010, when the source reached a daily flux of (1.1 \pm 0. Read More

A simple formalism to describe nonthermal electron acceleration, evolution, and radiation in supernova remnants (SNRs) is presented. The electron continuity equation is analytically solved assuming that the nonthermal electron injection power is proportional to the rate at which the kinetic energy of matter swept up in an adiabatically expanding SNR shell. We apply this model to \fermi\ and HESS data from the SNR \rxj, and find that a one-zone leptonic model with Compton-scattered cosmic microwave background (CMB) and interstellar infrared photons has difficulty providing a good fit to its spectral energy distribution, provided the source is at a distance $\sim 1\ \kpc$ from the Earth. Read More

Lower limits on the power emitted in ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays (UHECRs), which are assumed to be protons with energy 1e17-1e20 eV, are derived for TeV blazars with the assumption that the observed TeV gamma rays are generated due to interactions of these protons with cosmic microwave photons. The limits depend on the spectrum of the injected UHECR protons. While for a -2. Read More

Recent claims that the strength B_IGMF of the intergalactic magnetic field (IGMF) is >~ 1e-15 G are based on upper limits to the expected cascade flux in the GeV band produced by blazar TeV photons absorbed by the extragalactic background light. This limit depends on an assumption that the mean blazar TeV flux remains constant on timescales >~2 (B_ IGMF/1e-18 G)^2 / (E/{10 GeV})^2 yr for an IGMF coherence length ~ 1 Mpc, where E is the measured photon energy. Restricting TeV activity of 1ES 0229+200 to ~3 -- 4 years during which the source has been observed leads to a more robust lower limit of B_IGMF >~ 1e-18 G, which can be larger by an order of magnitude if the intrinsic source flux above ~5 -- 10 TeV from 1ES 0229+200 is strong. Read More

The Extragalactic Background Light (EBL) from the infrared (IR) through the ultraviolet (UV) is dominated by emission from stars, either directly or through absorption and reradiation by dust. It can thus give information on the star formation history of the universe. However, it is difficult to measure directly due to foreground radiation fields from the Galaxy and solar system. Read More

Fermi Gamma ray Space Telescope observations of the flat spectrum radio quasar 3C~454.3 show a spectral-index change $\Delta \Gamma \cong 1.2\pm 0. Read More

We propose a method for setting upper limits to the extragalactic background light (EBL). Our method uses simultaneous {\em Fermi}-LAT and ground-based TeV observations of blazars and is based on the assumption that the intrinsic spectral energy distribution (SED) of TeV blazars lies below the extrapolation of the {\em Fermi}-LAT SED from GeV to TeV energies. By extrapolating the {\em Fermi}-LAT spectrum, which for TeV blazars is practically unattenuated by photon-photon pair production with EBL photons, a firm upper limit on the intrinsic SED at TeV energies is provided. Read More

Fermi gamma-ray telescope data of GRB 080916C with ~1e55 erg in apparent isotropic gamma-ray energy, show a several second delay between the rise of 100 MeV - GeV radiation compared with keV - MeV radiation. Here we show that synchrotron radiation from cosmic ray protons accelerated in GRBs, delayed by the proton synchrotron cooling timescale in a jet of magnetically-dominated shocked plasma moving at highly relativistic speeds with bulk Lorentz factor Gamma ~ 500, could explain this result. A second generation electron synchrotron component from attenuated proton synchrotron radiation makes enhanced soft X-ray to MeV gamma-ray emission. Read More

The extragalactic background light (EBL) from the far infrared through the visible and extending into the ultraviolet is thought to be dominated by starlight, either through direct emission or through absorption and reradiation by dust. This is the most important energy range for absorbing $\g$-rays from distant sources such as blazars and gamma-ray bursts and producing electron positron pairs. In previous work we presented EBL models in the optical through ultraviolet by consistently taking into account the star formation rate (SFR), initial mass function (IMF) and dust extinction, and treating stars on the main sequence as blackbodies. Read More

The extragalactic background light (EBL) from the infrared to the ultraviolet is difficult to measure directly, but can be constrained with a variety of methods. EBL photons absorb gamma-rays from distant blazars, allowing one to use blazar spectra from atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes (ACTs) to put upper limits on the EBL by assuming a blazar source spectrum. Here we apply a simple technique, similar to the one developed by Schroedter (2005), to the most recent very-high energy (VHE) gamma-ray observations of blazars to put upper limits on the EBL energy density. Read More

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have long been considered as candidates of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays (UHECRs). We investigate the signatures of CR proton acceleration in the GRBs by consistently taking into account their hadronic and electromagnetic interactions. We discuss the implications of our findings for high-energy gamma ray observations with the recently launched Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Read More

Kinematical and luminosity relations for black-hole jet sources are reviewed. If the TeV flares observed from PKS 2155-304 in 2006 July are assumed to originate from a black hole with mass $\approx 10^8 M_8 M_\odot$, then the $\sim 5$ minute variability timescale is consistent with the light-travel time across the Schwarzschild radius of the black hole if $M_8\sim 1$. The absolute jet power in a synchrotron/SSC model exceeds, however, the Eddington luminosity for a black hole with $M_8\sim 1$ unless the jet is highly efficient. Read More

We extend a method for modeling synchrotron and synchrotron self-Compton radiations in blazar jets to include external Compton processes. The basic model assumption is that the blazar radio through soft X-ray flux is nonthermal synchrotron radiation emitted by isotropically-distributed electrons in the randomly directed magnetic field of outflowing relativistic blazar jet plasma. Thus the electron distribution is given by the synchrotron spectrum, depending only on the Doppler factor $\delta_{\rm D}$ and mean magnetic field $B$, given that the comoving emission region size scale $R_b^\prime \lesssim c \dD t_v/(1+z)$, where $t_v$ is variability time and $z$ is source redshift. Read More

TeV gamma rays from distant astrophysical sources are attenuated due to electron-positron pair creation by interacting with ultraviolet/optical to infrared photons which fill the universe and are collectively known as the extra-galactic background light (EBL). We model the ~0.1-10 eV starlight component of the EBL derived from expressions for the stellar initial mass function, star formation history of the universe, and wavelength-dependent absorption of a large sample of galaxies in the local universe. Read More

Observations of very-high-energy (VHE, E > 250 GeV) gamma-ray emission from several blazars at z > 0.1 have placed stringent constraints on the elusive spectrum and intensity of the intergalactic infrared background radiation (IIBR). Correcting their observed VHE spectrum for gamma-gamma absorption even by the lowest plausible level of the IIBR provided evidence for a very hard (photon spectral index Gamma_{ph} < 2) intrinsic source spectrum out to TeV energies. Read More

We introduce a methodology for analysis of multiwavelength data from X-ray selected BL Lac (XBL) objects detected in the TeV regime. By assuming that the radio--through--X-ray flux from XBLs is nonthermal synchrotron radiation emitted by isotropically-distributed electrons in the randomly oriented magnetic field of a relativistic blazar jet, we obtain the electron spectrum. This spectrum is then used to deduce the synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) spectrum as a function of the Doppler factor, magnetic field, and variability timescale. Read More

Results of a leptonic jet model for the prompt emission and early afterglows of GRBs are presented. The synchrotron component is modeled with the canonical Band spectrum and the synchrotron self-Compton component is calculated from the implied synchrotron-emitting electron spectrum in a relativistic plasma blob. In the comoving frame the magnetic field is assumed to be tangled and the electron and photon distributions are assumed to be isotropic. Read More

The nature of ultraluminous X-ray sources in nearby galaxies is one of the major open questions in modern X-ray astrophysics. One possible explanation for these objects is an inhomogeneous, radiation dominated accretion disk around a $\sim 10 M_{\odot}$ black hole -- the so-called ``photon bubble'' model. While previous studies of this model have focused primarily on its radiation-hydrodynamics aspects, in this paper, we provide an analysis of its X-ray spectral (continuum and possible edge and line) characteristics. Read More