Blazar emission mechanisms
Researchers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, have conducted the first systematic study on the gamma-ray flux variability nature on different types of blazars.
- Their study could provide clues to the processes happening close to the black hole, not visible through direct imaging.
- At the center of most galaxies, there’s a massive black hole that can have mass of millions or even billions of Suns that accrete gas, dust, and stellar debris around it.
- As these material falls towards the black hole, their gravitational energy gets converted to light forming active galactic nuclei (AGN).
- A minority of AGN (~15%) emit collimated charged particles called jets travelling at speeds close to the speed of light.
- Blazars are AGN whose jets are aligned with the observer’s line of sight.
- Some blazars are thought to host binary black holes in them and could be potential targets for future gravitational-wave searches.
- The results obtained from this particular piece of work will provide key inputs to the problem of finding the high energy gamma-ray production site in blazars.
- Thus it will have direct relevance to the enhancement of the knowledge on blazars.
- The expertise of handling high energy data from celestial sources gained in this work will build capacity to interpret the gamma-ray data that will emerge from India's upcoming facility, the Major Atmospheric Cerenkov Experiment Telescope as well as from any X-ray missions by India in the future.