The structure and emission model of the relativistic jet in the quasar 3C279 inferred from radio to high-energy γ-ray observations in 2008-2010

M. Hayashida, G. M. Madejski, K. Nalewajko, M. Sikora, A. E. Wehrle, P. Ogle, W. Collmar, S. Larsson, Y. Fukazawa, R. Itoh, J. Chiang, Stawarz, R. D. Blandford, J. L. Richards, W. Max-Moerbeck, A. Readhead, R. Buehler, E. Cavazzuti, S. Ciprini, N. GehrelsA. Reimer, A. Szostek, T. Tanaka, G. Tosti, Y. Uchiyama, K. S. Kawabata, M. Kino, K. Sakimoto, M. Sasada, S. Sato, M. Uemura, M. Yamanaka, J. Greiner, T. Kruehler, A. Rossi, J. P. MacQuart, D. C.J. Bock, M. Villata, C. M. Raiteri, I. Agudo, H. D. Aller, M. F. Aller, A. A. Arkharov, U. Bach, E. Benítez, A. Berdyugin, D. A. Blinov, K. Blumenthal, M. Böttcher, C. S. Buemi, D. Carosati, W. P. Chen, A. Di Paola, M. Dolci, N. V. Efimova, E. Forné, J. L. Gómez, M. A. Gurwell, J. Heidt, D. Hiriart, B. Jordan, S. G. Jorstad, M. Joshi, G. Kimeridze, T. S. Konstantinova, E. N. Kopatskaya, E. Koptelova, O. M. Kurtanidze, A. Lähteenmäki, A. Lamerato, V. M. Larionov, E. G. Larionova, L. V. Larionova, P. Leto, E. Lindfors, A. P. Marscher, I. M. McHardy, S. N. Molina, D. A. Morozova, M. G. Nikolashvili, K. Nilsson, R. Reinthal, P. Roustazadeh, T. Sakamoto, L. A. Sigua, A. Sillanpää, L. Takalo, J. Tammi, B. Taylor, M. Tornikoski, C. Trigilio, I. S. Troitsky, G. Umana

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We present time-resolved broadband observations of the quasar 3C279 obtained from multi-wavelength campaigns conducted during the first two years of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope mission. While investigating the previously reported γ-ray/optical flare accompanied by a change in optical polarization, we found that the optical emission appears to be delayed with respect to the γ-ray emission by about 10days. X-ray observations reveal a pair of "isolated" flares separated by 90 days, with only weak γ-ray/optical counterparts. The spectral structure measured by Spitzer reveals a synchrotron component peaking in the mid-infrared band with a sharp break at the far-infrared band during the γ-ray flare, while the peak appears in the millimeter (mm)/submillimeter (sub-mm) band in the low state. Selected spectral energy distributions are fitted with leptonic models including Comptonization of external radiation produced in a dusty torus or the broad-line region. Adopting the interpretation of the polarization swing involving propagation of the emitting region along a curved trajectory, we can explain the evolution of the broadband spectra during the γ-ray flaring event by a shift of its location from 1pc to 4pc from the central black hole. On the other hand, if the γ-ray flare is generated instead at sub-pc distance from the central black hole, the far-infrared break can be explained by synchrotron self-absorption. We also model the low spectral state, dominated by the mm/sub-mm peaking synchrotron component, and suggest that the corresponding inverse-Compton component explains the steady X-ray emission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2012


  • X-rays: galaxies
  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: jets
  • gamma rays: galaxies
  • quasars: individual (3C 279)
  • radiation mechanisms: non-thermal


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