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Observational Properties of Gigaelectronvolt-Teraelectronvolt Blazars and the Study of the Teraelectronvolt Blazar RBS 0413 with VERITAS

Senturk, Gunes Demet

Blazars are active galactic nuclei with a relativistic jet directed towards the observer's line of sight. Characterization of the non-thermal continuum emission originating from the blazar jet is currently an essential question in high-energy astrophysics. A blazar spectral energy distribution (SED) has a typical double-peaked shape in the flux vs. energy representation. The low-energy component of the SED is well-studied and thought to be due to synchrotron emission from relativistic electrons. The high-energy component, on the other hand, is still not completely understood and the emission in this part of the blazar spectrum can extend to energies as high as tera electron volts in some objects. This portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is referred to as the very-high-energy (VHE or TeV, E > 0.1 TeV) regime. At the time of this writing, more than half a hundred blazars have been detected to emit TeV gamma rays, representing the high energy extreme of these objects and constituting a population of its own. Most of these TeV blazars have also been detected in the high-energy (HE or GeV, 0.1 GeV < E < 0.1 TeV) gamma-ray range.

In this work, we report on our discovery of the TeV emission from the blazar RBS 0413 and perform a detailed data analysis on this source, including contemporaneous multi-wavelength observations to characterize the broad-band SED and test various emission models for the high-energy component. Further, we extend our focus on the high-energy component to all archival TeV-detected blazars and study their spectral properties in the framework of GeV and TeV gamma-ray observations. To do this, we assemble for the first time the GeV and TeV spectra of a complete sample of TeV-detected blazars available in the archive to date. In the Appendix we present an analysis method for improved observations of large zenith angle targets with VERITAS.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Physics
Thesis Advisors
Humensky, Thomas Brian
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
November 4, 2013
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