Gamma-ray flaring activity of NGC 1275 in 2016-2017 measured by MAGIC
Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2018 (Submitted 2018/06/05)
External url: arXiv abstract
(Submitted on 5 Jun 2018, last revised 5 Jun 2018)
We report on the detection of flaring activity from the Fanaroff-Riley I radio galaxy NGC 1275 in very-high-energy (VHE, E $>$ 100 GeV) gamma rays with the MAGIC telescopes. Observations were performed between 2016 September and 2017 February as part of a monitoring program. The brightest outburst with $\sim1.5$ times the Crab Nebula flux above 100 GeV (C.U.) was observed during the night between 2016 December 31 and 2017 January 1 (fifty times higher than the mean previously measured in two observational campaigns between 2009 and 2011). Significant variability of the day-by-day light curve was measured, the shortest flux-doubling time-scales was found to be of $(611\pm101)$ min. The combined spectrum of the MAGIC data during the strongest flare state and simultaneous data from the Fermi-LAT around 2017 January 1 follows a power-law with an exponential cutoff at the energy $(492\pm35)$ GeV. Simultaneous optical flux density measurements in the R-band obtained with the KVA telescope are also presented and the correlation between the optical and gamma-ray emission is investigated. Due to possible internal pair-production, the fast flux variability constrains the Doppler factor to values which are inconsistent with a large viewing angle as observed in the radio band. We investigate different scenarios for the explanation of fast gamma-ray variability, namely emission from: magnetospheric gaps, relativistic blobs propagating in the jet (mini-jets) or external cloud (or star) entering the jet. We find that the only plausible model to account for the luminosities here observed would be the production of gamma rays in a magnetospheric gap around the central black hole only in the eventuality of an enhancement of the magnetic field threading the hole from its equipartition value with the gas pressure in the accretion flow.
galaxies: active – galaxies: jets – galaxies: individual: NGC1275 – gamma rays: galaxies