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CLUES TO BLAZAR EMISSION MECHANISMS

Why in news?

  • Researchers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) 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.

What are blazars?

What are Blazars? | BrownSpaceman
  • At the centre 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.
  • Blazars are the most luminous and energetic objects in the known universe were found to be emitters of gamma-rays in the 1990s.
  • It is only with the capability of Fermi Gamma-ray space telescope (launched in 2008) to scan the entire sky once in three hours one is able to probe the flux variability characteristics of blazars on a range of time scales.
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September 2022
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