Variability of gamma-ray emission from blazars on black hole timescales.
VOVK IE. and NERONOV A.
Abstract (from CDS):
We investigate the variability properties of blazars in the GeV band using data from the Fermi/Large Area Telescope (LAT) telescope. We find that blazars exhibit variability down to the minimum timescale resolvable by Fermi; this variability is a function of the peak photon count rate in the LAT. This implies that the real minimum variability timescales for the majority of blazars are typically shorter than those resolvable by the LAT. We find that for several blazars these minimum variability timescales reach those associated with the blazar central engine, the supermassive black hole. At the same time, none of the blazars exhibits variability on a timescale shorter than the black hole horizon light-crossing time and/or the period of rotation around the last stable circular orbit. Based on this fact, we argue that the timing properties of the γ-ray signal could be determined by the processes in the direct vicinity of the supermassive black hole.