The uncorrelated long-term γ-ray and X-ray variability of blazars and its implications on disc-jet coupling

Debbijoy Bhattacharya, Ranjeev Misra, A. R. Rao, P. Sreekumar

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Abstract

We examine the long-term (∼10 yr) γ-ray variability of blazars observed by EGRET and Fermi and find that for six sources the average flux varied by more than an order of magnitude. For two of these sources (PKS 0208-512 and PKS 0528+134), there were extensive observations (at various observing periods) by EGRET. Hence, these dramatic variations are not due to a single short time-scale flare, but reflect long-term changes in the average flux. Over the past 20 years, these two sources were also the target of several X-ray observatories (e.g. ROSAT, ASCA, RXTE, BeppoSAX, Chandra, Suzaku, XMM-Newton and Swift). While the ratios of the average γ-ray fluxes between EGRET and Fermi observations are 22.9 ± 1.9 and 12.6 ± 1.5, their estimated 2-10 keV X-ray flux does not show such dramatic variations. The X-ray emission from such flat spectrum radio quasars are believed to be due to synchrotron self-Compton, while γ-rays originate from inverse Comptonization of external soft photons from an accretion disc and/or broad line region. We argue that in this scenario, the only explanation for the uncorrelated variability is that there was an order of magnitude decrease in the external soft photons, while the jet parameters remained more or less constant. This result indicates that perhaps the accretion and jet processes are not tightly coupled in these sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1618-1624
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume431
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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