Magnetic Field Amplification and Blazar Flares
1 Institute of Physics and Astronomy, University of Potsdam, 14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany
2 DESY, Platanenallee 6, 15738 Zeuthen, Germany
3 Department of Physics, Presidency University, 86/1, College street, Kolkata - 700073, India
4 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA
a e-mail: email@example.com
Published online: 9 December 2013
Recent multiwavelength observations of PKS 0208-512 by SMARTS, Fermi, and Swift revealed that γ-ray and optical light curves of this flat spectrum radio quasars are highly correlated, but with an exception of one large optical flare having no corresponding gamma-ray activity or even detection. On the other hand, recent advances in SNRs observations and plasma simulations both reveal that magnetic field downstream of astrophysical shocks can be largely amplified beyond simple shock compression. These amplifications, along with their associated particle acceleration, might contribute to blazar flares, including the peculiar flare of PKS 0208-512. Using our time dependent multizone blazar emission code, we evaluate several scenarios that may represent such phenomena. This code combines Monte Carlo method that tracks the radiative processes including inverse Compton scattering, and Fokker-Planck equation that follows the cooling and acceleration of particles. It is a comprehensive time dependent code that fully takes into account the light travel time effects. In this study, both the changes of the magnetic field and acceleration efficiency are explored as the cause of blazar flares. Under these assumption, synchrotron self-Compton and external Compton scenarios produce distinct features that favor the external Compton scenario. The optical flares with/without gamma-ray counterparts can be explained by different allocations of energy between the magnetization and particle acceleration, which in turn can be affected by the relative orientation between the magnetic field and the shock flow. We compare the details of the observations and simulation, and highlight what implications this study has on our understanding of relativistic jets.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2013
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.