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2003ApJ...586...79A - Astrophys. J., 586, 79-96 (2003/March-3)

Neutral beams from blazar jets.


Abstract (from CDS):

We treat the production of neutrons, photons, and neutrinos through photomeson interactions of relativistic protons with ambient photons in the compact inner jets of blazars. Internal synchrotron and external isotropic radiation due to scattered optical/UV accretion-disk radiation are considered as target photon fields. Protons are assumed to be accelerated to a maximum energy limited by the size scale and magnetic field of the jet, and by competing energy losses. We characterize the conditions when the photomeson interactions of ultrarelativistic protons become effective, and show that the presence of the external radiation field makes possible strong energy losses for protons with energies Ep≳1015 eV. Without this component, effective energy losses of protons begin at Ep≳1018 eV, and would rapidly disappear with expansion of the blob. We develop a model describing the production and escape of neutrons from a comoving spherical blob, which continue to interact with the ambient external radiation field on the parsec-scale broad-line region (BLR). Neutrons may carry ~10% of the overall energy of the accelerated protons with Ep≳1015 eV outside the BLR. Ultra-high-energy gamma rays produced by photomeson interaction of neutrons outside the blob can also escape the BLR. The escaping neutrons, gamma rays, and neutrinos form a collimated neutral beam with a characteristic opening angle θ∼1/Γ, where Γ is the bulk Lorentz factor of the inner jet. Energy and momentum is deposited in the extended jet from the decay of neutrons at distances ld(En)~(En/1017eV) kpc, and through pair-production attenuation of gamma rays with energies Eγ≳1015 eV which propagate to ∼10-100 kpc distances. In this scenario, neutral beams of ultra-high-energy gamma rays and neutrons can be the reason for straight extended jets, such as in Pictor A. Fluxes of neutrinos detectable with kilometer-scale neutrino telescopes are predicted from flat-spectrum radio quasars such as 3C 279.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): Galaxies: Active - Galaxies: Jets - Gamma Rays: Theory - Radiation Mechanisms: Nonthermal - X-Rays: Galaxies

Simbad objects: 7

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