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Publication details

The detection of the blazar S4 0954+65 at very-high-energy with the MAGIC telescopes during an exceptionally high optical state

MAGIC collaboration, Ahnen et al.

First author:

Corresponding author(s): Josefa Becerra González, Marina Manganaro, Giovanna Pedaletti, Vandad Fallah Ramazani


A&A 617, A30, 2018 (Submitted 2018/01/12)

External urlADS abstract

(Submitted on 12 Jan 2018, last revised 12 Mar 2018)


The very-high-energy (VHE, $\gtrsim 100$ GeV) $\gamma$-ray MAGIC observations of the blazar S4 0954+65, were triggered by an exceptionally high flux state of emission in the optical. This blazar has a disputed redshift of z=0.368 or z$\geqslant$0.45 and an uncertain classification among blazar subclasses. The exceptional source state described here makes for an excellent opportunity to understand physical processes in the jet of S4 0954+65 and thus contribute to its classification. We investigate the multiwavelength (MWL) light curve and spectral energy distribution (SED) of the S4 0954+65 blazar during an enhanced state in February 2015 and put it in context with possible emission scenarios. We collect photometric data in radio, optical, X-ray, and $\gamma$ ray. We study both the optical polarization and the inner parsec-scale jet behavior with 43 GHz data. Observations with the MAGIC telescopes led to the first detection of S4 0954+65 at VHE. Simultaneous data with Fermi-LAT at high energy $\gamma$ ray\ (HE, 100 MeV < E < 100 GeV) also show a period of increased activity. Imaging at 43 GHz reveals the emergence of a new feature in the radio jet in coincidence with the VHE flare. Simultaneous monitoring of the optical polarization angle reveals a rotation of approximately 100$^\circ$. (...) The broadband spectrum can be modeled with an emission mechanism commonly invoked for flat spectrum radio quasars, i.e. inverse Compton scattering on an external soft photon field from the dust torus, also known as external Compton. The light curve and SED phenomenology is consistent with an interpretation of a blob propagating through a helical structured magnetic field and eventually crossing a standing shock in the jet, a scenario typically applied to flat spectrum radio quasars (FSRQs) and low-frequency peaked BL Lac objects (LBL).


gamma rays: galaxies / galaxies: active / BL Lacertae objects: individual: S4 0954+65