A Hard Gamma-ray Flare from 3 C 279 in 2013 December

Abstract

The blazar 3C 279 exhibited twin γ-ray flares of similar intensity in 2013 December and 2014 April. In this work, we present a detailed multi-wavelength analysis of the 2013 December flaring event. Multi-frequency observations reveal the uncorrelated variability patterns with X-ray and optical-UV fluxes peaking after the γ-ray maximum. The broadband spectral energy distribution (SED) at the peak of the γray activity shows a rising γ-ray spectrum but a declining optical-UV flux. This observation along with the detection of uncorrelated variability behavior rules out the one-zone leptonic emission scenario. We, therefore, adopt two independent methodologies to explain the SED: a time dependent lepto-hadronic modeling and a two-zone leptonic radiative modeling approach. In the lepto-hadronic modeling, a distribution of electrons and protons subjected to a randomly orientated magnetic field produces synchrotron radiation. Electron synchrotron is used to explain the IR to UV emission while proton synchrotron emission is used to explain the high energy γ-ray emission. A combination of both electron synchrotron self Compton emission and proton synchrotron emission is used to explain the X-ray spectral break seen during the later stage of the flare. In the two-zone modeling, we assume a large emission region emitting primarily in IR to X-rays and γ-rays to come primarily from a fast moving compact emission region. We conclude by noting that within a span of 4 months, 3C 279 has shown the dominance of a variety of radiative processes over each other and this reflects the complexity involved in understanding the physical properties of blazar jets in general. Subject headings: galaxies: active — gamma rays: galaxies — quasars: individual (3C 279) — galaxies: jets

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