The Origins of the Gamma-Ray Flux Variations of NGC 1275 Based on Eight Years of Fermi-LAT Observations

K. Tanada, J. Kataoka, M. Arimoto, M. Akita, C. C. Cheung, S. W. Digel, Y. Fukazawa

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    21 Citations (Scopus)


    We present an analysis of eight years of Fermi-LAT (>0.1 GeV) γ-ray data obtained for the radio galaxy NGC 1275. The γ-ray flux from NGC 1275 is highly variable on short (∼days to weeks) timescales, and has steadily increased over this eight year timespan. By examining the changes in its flux and spectral shape in the LAT energy band over the entire data set, we found that its spectral behavior changed around 2011 February (∼MJD 55600). The γ-ray spectra at early times evolved largely at high energies, while the photon indices were unchanged at later times despite rather large flux variations. To explain these observations, we suggest that the flux changes at the early times were caused by injection of high-energy electrons into the jet while, later, the γ-ray flares were caused by a changing Doppler factor owing to variations in the jet Lorentz factor and/or changes in the angle to our line of sight. To demonstrate the viability of these scenarios, we fit the broad band spectral energy distribution data with a one-zone synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) model for flaring and quiescent intervals before and after 2011 February. To explain the γ-ray spectral behavior in the context of the SSC model, the maximum electron Lorentz factor would have changed at the early times, while a modest change in the Doppler factor adequately fits the quiescent and flaring state γ-ray spectra at the later times.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number74
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 10


    • galaxies: Seyfert
    • galaxies: active
    • galaxies: individual (NGC 1275)
    • galaxies: jets
    • gamma rays: general
    • radiation mechanisms: non-thermal

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


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