Fermi large area telescope gamma-ray detection of the radio galaxy m87

A. A. Abdo, M. Ackermann, M. Ajello, W. B. Atwood, M. Axelsson, L. Baldini, J. Ballet, G. Barbiellini, D. Bastieri, K. Bechtol, R. Bellazzini, B. Berenji, R. D. Blandford, E. D. Bloom, E. Bonamente, A. W. Borgland, J. Bregeon, A. Brez, M. Brigida, P. BruelT. H. Burnett, G. A. Caliandro, R. A. Cameron, A. Cannon, P. A. Caraveo, J. M. Casandjian, E. Cavazzuti, C. Cecchi, Ö Çelik, E. Charles, C. C. Cheung, J. Chiang, S. Ciprini, R. Claus, J. Cohen-Tanugi, S. Colafrancesco, J. Conrad, L. Costamante, S. Cutini, D. S. Davis, C. D. Dermer, A. De Angelis, F. De Palma, S. W. Digel, D. Donato, E. Do Couto E Silva, P. S. Drell, R. Dubois, D. Dumora, Y. Edmonds, C. Farnier, C. Favuzzi, S. J. Fegan, J. Finke, W. B. Focke, P. Fortin, M. Frailis, Y. Fukazawa, S. Funk, P. Fusco, F. Gargano, D. Gasparrini, N. Gehrels, M. Georganopoulos, S. Germani, B. Giebels, N. Giglietto, P. Giommi, F. Giordano, M. Giroletti, T. Glanzman, G. Godfrey, I. A. Grenier, M. H. Grondin, J. E. Grove, L. Guillemot, S. Guiriec, Y. Hanabata, A. K. Harding, M. Hayashida, E. Hays, D. Horan, G. Jóhannesson, A. S. Johnson, R. P. Johnson, T. J. Johnson, W. N. Johnson, T. Kamae, H. Katagiri, J. Kataoka, N. Kawai, M. Kerr, J. Knödlseder, M. L. Kocian, M. Kuss, J. Lande, L. Latronico, M. Lemoine-Goumard, F. Longo, F. Loparco, B. Lott, M. N. Lovellette, P. Lubrano, G. M. Madejski, A. Makeev, M. N. Mazziotta, W. McConville, J. E. McEnery, C. Meurer, P. F. Michelson, W. Mitthumsiri, T. Mizuno, A. A. Moiseev, C. Monte, M. E. Monzani, A. Morselli, I. V. Moskalenko, S. Murgia, P. L. Nolan, J. P. Norris, E. Nuss, T. Ohsugi, N. Omodei, E. Orlando, J. F. Ormes, M. Ozaki, D. Paneque, J. H. Panetta, D. Parent, V. Pelassa, M. Pepe, M. Pesce-Rollins, F. Piron, T. A. Porter, S. Rainò, R. Rando, M. Razzano, A. Reimer, O. Reimer, T. Reposeur, S. Ritz, L. S. Rochester, A. Y. Rodriguez, R. W. Romani, M. Roth, F. Ryde, H. F.W. Sadrozinski, R. Sambruna, D. Sanchez, A. Sander, P. M. Saz Parkinson, J. D. Scargle, C. Sgrò, M. S. Shaw, D. A. Smith, P. D. Smith, G. Spandre, P. Spinelli, M. S. Strickman, D. J. Suson, H. Tajima, H. Takahashi, T. Tanaka, G. B. Taylor, J. B. Thayer, D. J. Thompson, L. Tibaldo, D. F. Torres, G. Tosti, A. Tramacere, Y. Uchiyama, T. L. Usher, V. Vasileiou, N. Vilchez, A. P. Waite, P. Wang, B. L. Winer, K. S. Wood, T. Ylinen, M. Ziegler, D. E. Harris, F. Massaro, L. Stawarz

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135 Citations (Scopus)


We report the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) discovery of high-energy (MeV/GeV) γ-ray emission positionally consistent with the center of the radio galaxy M87, at a source significance of over 10σ in 10 months of all-sky survey data. Following the detections of Cen A and Per A, this makes M87 the third radio galaxy seen with the LAT. The faint point-like γ-ray source has a >100 MeV flux of 2.45 (?± 0.63) × 10-8 photons cm-2 s-1 (photon index = 2.26 ± 0.13) with no significant variability detected within the LAT observation. This flux is comparable with the previous EGRET upper limit (<2.18 × 10-8 photons cm-2 s-1, 2σ), thus there is no evidence for a significant MeV/GeV flare on decade timescales. Contemporaneous Chandra and Very Long Baseline Array data indicate low activity in the unresolved X-ray and radio core relative to previous observations, suggesting M87 is in a quiescent overall level over the first year of Fermi-LAT observations. The LAT γ-ray spectrum is modeled as synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) emission from the electron population producing the radio-to-X-ray emission in the core. The resultant SSC spectrum extrapolates smoothly from the LAT band to the historical-minimum TeV emission. Alternative models for the core and possible contributions from the kiloparsec-scale jet in M87 are considered, and cannot be excluded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-60
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: individual (M87)
  • Galaxies: jets
  • Gamma rays: observations
  • Radiation mechanisms: non-thermal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    Abdo, A. A., Ackermann, M., Ajello, M., Atwood, W. B., Axelsson, M., Baldini, L., Ballet, J., Barbiellini, G., Bastieri, D., Bechtol, K., Bellazzini, R., Berenji, B., Blandford, R. D., Bloom, E. D., Bonamente, E., Borgland, A. W., Bregeon, J., Brez, A., Brigida, M., ... Stawarz, L. (2009). Fermi large area telescope gamma-ray detection of the radio galaxy m87. Astrophysical Journal, 707(1), 55-60. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/707/1/55