PKS 1502+106: A new and distant gamma-ray blazar in outburst discovered by the fermi large area telescope

E. Angelakis, A. A. Abdo, M. Ackermann, M. Ajello, W. B. Atwood, M. Axelsson, L. Baldini, J. Ballet, G. Barbiellini, D. Bastieri, B. M. Baughman, K. Bechtol, R. Bellazzini, B. Berenji, E. D. Bloom, G. Bogaert, E. Bonamente, A. W. Borgland, J. Bregeon, A. BrezM. Brigida, P. Bruel, T. H. Burnett, G. A. Caliandro, R. A. Cameron, P. A. Caraveo, J. M. Casandjian, E. Cavazzuti, C. Cecchi, Ö Çelik, A. Chekhtman, C. C. Cheung, J. Chiang, S. Ciprini, R. Claus, J. Cohen-Tanugi, J. Conrad, S. Cutini, C. D. Dermer, A. De Angelis, F. De Palma, S. W. Digel, E. Do Couto E Silva, P. S. Drell, R. Dubois, D. Dumora, C. Farnier, C. Favuzzi, S. J. Fegan, E. C. Ferrara, W. B. Focke, M. Frailis, L. Fuhrmann, Y. Fukazawa, S. Funk, P. Fusco, F. Gargano, D. Gasparrini, N. Gehrels, S. Germani, B. Giebels, N. Giglietto, 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, R. E. Hughes, G. Jóhannesson, A. S. Johnson, R. P. Johnson, W. N. Johnson, M. Kadler, T. Kamae, H. Katagiri, J. Kataoka, M. Kerr, J. Knödlseder, M. L. Kocian, F. Kuehn, 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. Marelli, E. Massaro, W. Max-Moerbeck, 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. Pavlidou, T. J. Pearson, V. Pelassa, M. Pepe, M. Pesce-Rollins, F. Piron, T. A. Porter, S. Rainò, R. Rando, M. Razzano, S. Razzaque, A. Readhead, A. Reimer, O. Reimer, T. Reposeur, J. L. Richards, S. Ritz, L. S. Rochester, A. Y. Rodriguez, R. W. Romani, M. Roth, F. Ryde, H. F.W. Sadrozinski, D. Sanchez, A. Sander, P. M.Saz Parkinson, J. D. Scargle, C. Sgrò, M. S. Shaw, E. J. Siskind, D. A. Smith, P. D. Smith, G. Spandre, P. Spinelli, M. Stevenson, M. S. Strickman, D. J. Suson, H. Tajima, H. Takahashi, T. Tanaka, J. B. Thayer, J. G. Thayer, D. J. Thompson, L. Tibaldo, O. Tibolla, D. F. Torres, G. Tosti, A. Tramacere, P. Ubertini, Y. Uchiyama, T. L. Usher, V. Vasileiou, N. Vilchez, V. Vitale, A. P. Waite, P. Wang, B. L. Winer, K. S. Wood, H. Yasuda, T. Ylinen, J. A. Zensus, M. Ziegler, E. Angelakis, T. Hovatta, E. Hoversten, Y. Ikejiri, K. S. Kawabata, Y. Y. Kovalev, Yu A. Kovalev, T. P. Krichbaum, M. L. Lister, A. Lähteenmäki, N. Marchili, P. Ogle, C. Pagani, A. B. Pushkarev, K. Sakimoto, M. Sasada, M. Tornikoski, M. Uemura, M. Yamanaka, T. Yamashita

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45 Citations (Scopus)


The Large Area Telescope (LAT) on board the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope discovered a rapid (5 days duration), high-energy (E > 100 MeV) gamma-ray outburst from a source identified with the blazar PKS 1502+106 (OR 103, S3 1502+10, z = 1.839) starting on 2008 August 5 (23 UTC, MJD 54683.95), and followed by bright and variable flux over the next few months. Results on the gamma-ray localization and identification, as well as spectral and temporal behavior during the first months of the Fermi all-sky survey, are reported here in conjunction with a multiwaveband characterization as a result of one of the first Fermi multifrequency campaigns. The campaign included a Swift ToO (followed up by a 16 day observation on August 7-22, MJD 54685-54700), VLBA (within the MOJAVE program), Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO) 40 m, Effelsberg-100 m, Metsähovi-14 m, RATAN-600, and Kanata-Hiroshima radio/optical observations. Results from the analysis of archival observations by INTEGRAL, XMM-Newton, and Spitzer space telescopes are reported for a more complete picture of this new gamma-ray blazar. PKS 1502+106 is a sub-GeV peaked, powerful flat spectrum radio quasar (luminosity at E > 100 MeV, L γ, is about 1.1 × 1049 erg s-1, and black hole mass likely close to 109 M ), exhibiting marked gamma-ray bolometric dominance, in particular during the asymmetric outburst (L γ/L opt 100, and 5 day averaged flux F E > 100 MeV = 2.91 1.4 × 10-6 ph cm-2 s-1), which was characterized by a factor greater than 3 of flux increase in less than 12 hr. The outburst was observed simultaneously from optical to X-ray bands (F 0.3 - 10 keV = 2.18+0.15 -0.12 × 10-12 erg cm-2 s-1, and hard photon index 1.5, similar to past values) with a flux increase of less than 1 order of magnitude with respect to past observations, and was likely controlled by Comptonization of external-jet photons produced in the broad-line region (BLR) in the gamma-ray band. No evidence of a possible blue bump signature was observed in the optical-UV continuum spectrum, while some hints for a possible 4 day time lag with respect to the gamma-ray flare were found. Nonetheless, the properties of PKS 1502+106 and the strict optical/UV, X-, and gamma-ray cross-correlations suggest the contribution of the synchrotron self-Compton (SSC), in-jet, process should dominate from radio to X-rays. This mechanism may also be responsible for the consistent gamma-ray variability observed by the LAT on longer timescales, after the ignition of activity at these energies provided by the BLR-dissipated outburst. Modulations and subsequent minor, rapid flare events were detected, with a general fluctuation mode between pink-noise and a random-walk. The averaged gamma-ray spectrum showed a deviation from a simple power law, and can be described by a log-parabola curved model peaking around 0.4-0.5 GeV. The maximum energy of photons detected from the source in the first four months of LAT observations was 15.8 GeV, with no significant consequences on extragalactic background light predictions. A possible radio counterpart of the gamma-ray outburst can be assumed only if a delay of more than three months is considered on the basis of opacity effects at cm and longer wavelengths. The rotation of the electric vector position angle observed by VLBA from 2007 to 2008 could represent a slow field ordering and alignment with respect to the jet axis, likely a precursor feature of the ejection of a superluminal radio knot and the high-energy outburst. This observing campaign provides more insight into the connection between MeV-GeV flares and the moving, polarized structures observed by the VLBI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)810-827
Number of pages18
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: jets
  • Gamma rays: general
  • Quasars: general
  • X-rays: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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