Multiwavelength observations of the previously unidentified blazar RX J0648.7+1516

E. Aliu, T. Aune, M. Beilicke, W. Benbow, M. Böttcher, A. Bouvier, S. M. Bradbury, J. H. Buckley, V. Bugaev, A. Cannon, A. Cesarini, L. Ciupik, M. P. Connolly, W. Cui, G. Decerprit, R. Dickherber, C. Duke, M. Errando, A. Falcone, Q. FengG. Finnegan, L. Fortson, A. Furniss, N. Galante, D. Gall, G. H. Gillanders, S. Godambe, S. Griffin, J. Grube, G. Gyuk, D. Hanna, B. Hivick, J. Holder, H. Huan, G. Hughes, C. M. Hui, T. B. Humensky, P. Kaaret, N. Karlsson, M. Kertzman, D. Kieda, H. Krawczynski, F. Krennrich, G. Maier, P. Majumdar, S. McArthur, A. McCann, P. Moriarty, R. Mukherjee, T. Nelson, R. A. Ong, M. Orr, A. N. Otte, N. Park, J. S. Perkins, A. Pichel, M. Pohl, H. Prokoph, J. Quinn, K. Ragan, L. C. Reyes, P. T. Reynolds, E. Roache, H. J. Rose, J. Ruppel, D. B. Saxon, G. H. Sembroski, C. Skole, A. W. Smith, D. Staszak, G. Teišić, M. Theiling, S. Thibadeau, K. Tsurusaki, J. Tyler, A. Varlotta, V. V. Vassiliev, S. P. Wakely, T. C. Weekes, A. Weinstein, D. A. Williams, B. Zitzer, S. Ciprini, M. Fumagalli, K. Kaplan, D. Paneque, J. X. Prochaska

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34 Scopus citations


We report on the VERITAS discovery of very high energy (VHE) gamma-ray emission above 200GeV from the high-frequency-peaked BL Lac (HBL) object RXJ0648.7+1516 (GBJ0648+1516), associated with 1FGLJ0648.8+1516. The photon spectrum above 200GeV is fitted by a power law dN/dE = F 0(E/E 0) with a photon index Γ of 4.4 ± 0.8stat± 0.3syst and a flux normalization F 0 of (2.3± 0.5stat± 1.2sys) × 10-11TeV-1cm-2 s-1 with E 0 = 300GeV. No VHE variability is detected during VERITAS observations of RXJ0648.7+1516 between 2010 March 4 and April 15. Following the VHE discovery, the optical identification and spectroscopic redshift were obtained using the Shane 3 m Telescope at the Lick Observatory, showing the unidentified object to be a BL Lac type with a redshift of z = 0.179. Broadband multiwavelength observations contemporaneous with the VERITAS exposure period can be used to subclassify the blazar as an HBL object, including data from the MDM observatory, Swift-UVOT, and X-Ray Telescope, and continuous monitoring at photon energies above 1GeV from the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT). We find that in the absence of undetected, high-energy rapid variability, the one-zone synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) model overproduces the high-energy gamma-ray emission measured by the Fermi-LAT over 2.3 years. The spectral energy distribution can be parameterized satisfactorily with an external-Compton or lepto-hadronic model, which have two and six additional free parameters, respectively, compared to the one-zone SSC model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number127
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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