Time-dependent modelling of PKS 2155-304 in a low state


Petropoulou M. Time-dependent modelling of PKS 2155-304 in a low state. [Internet]. 2014;571:A83.


Aims: We apply both leptonic and leptohadronic emission scenarios for modelling the multiwavelength photon spectra and the observed variability in the optical, X-ray, and TeV gamma-ray energy bands of blazar PKS 2155-304 while being in a low state between 25 August and 6 September 2008.
Methods: We consider three emission models, namely a one-component synchrotron self-Compton model (1-SSC), a one-zone proton synchrotron model (LHs), and a two-component SSC model (2-SSC). Only in the first scenario can the emission from the optical up to very high-energy (VHE) gamma-rays be attributed to a single particle population from one emission region. In the LHs model, the low-energy and high-energy bumps of the spectral energy distribution (SED) are the result of electron and proton synchrotron radiation, respectively, i.e. two different particle populations are required. In the 2-SSC model, the emission from one component dominates in the optical and gamma-ray energy bands, while the other one contributes only to the X-ray flux. Using a time-dependent numerical code that solves the kinetic equations for each particle species, we derived, in all cases, acceptable fits to the time-averaged SED. By imposing variations to one (or more) model parameters according to observed variability pattern in one (or more) frequencies we calculated the respective lightcurves and compared them with the observations.
Results: We show that the 1-SSC model cannot account for the anticorrelation observed between the X-rays and VHE gamma-rays, although it can explain the time-averaged SED. The anticorrelation can be more naturally explained by the two-component emission models. Both of them reproduce satisfactorily the optical, X-ray, and TeV variability but at the cost of additional free parameters, which from four in the 2-SSC model increase to six in the LHs model. Although the results of our time-resolved analysis do not favour one of the aforementioned models, they suggest that a two-component scenario is more adequate for the emission of PKS 2155-304 in the low state of 2008, which agrees with a recent independent analysis. This suggests that the quiescent blazar radiation might result from a superposition of the radiation from different components, while a flare might still be the result of a single component.