Vol 18, No 11 (2018) / Shah

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Log-normal flux distribution of bright Fermi blazars

Zahir Shah, Nijil Mankuzhiyil, Atreyee Sinha, Ranjeev Misra, Sunder Sahayanathan, Naseer Iqbal

Abstract

We present the results of the γ-ray flux distribution study on the brightest blazars which were observed by Fermi-LAT. We selected 50 of the brightest blazars based on the maximum number of detections reported in the Third LAT AGN Catalog. We performed standard unbinned maximum likelihood analysis on the LAT data during the period between August 2008 and December 2016, in order to obtain the average monthly flux. After quality cuts, blazars for which at least 90% of the total flux had survived were selected for further study, and this included 19 FSRQs and 19 BL Lacs. The Anderson-Darling and χ2 tests suggest that the integrated monthly flux follows a log-normal distribution for all sources, except for three FSRQs for which neither a normal nor a log-normal distribution was preferred. A double log-normal flux distribution tendency was observed in these sources, though this has to be confirmed with improved statistics. We also found that the standard deviation of the log-normal flux distribution increases with the mean spectral index of the blazar, and can be fitted with a line of slope 0.24 ± 0.04. We repeat our study on three additional brightest unclassified blazars to identify their flux distribution properties. Based on the features of their log-normal flux distribution, we infer these unclassified blazars may be closely associated with FSRQs. We also highlight that considering the log-normal behavior of the flux distribution of blazars, averaging their long term flux on a linear scale can largely underestimate the nominal flux and this discrepancy can propagate down to the estimation of source parameters through spectral modeling.

Keywords


active galaxy: blazar — FSRQ — BL Lac — gamma-rays

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1088/1674–4527/18/11/141

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