Gamma Ray and Infrared Emission from the M87 Jet and Torus

Alina C. Donea, Raymond J. Protheroe

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The existence of intrinsic obscuration of Fanaroff-Riley I objects is a controversial topic. M87, the nearest such object, is puzzling in that although it has very massive central black hole it has a relatively low luminosity, suggesting it is in a dormant state. Despite of its proximity to us (16 Mpc) it is not known with certainty whether or not M87 has a dusty torus. Infrared observations indicate that if a torus exists in M87 it must have a rather low infrared luminosity. Using arguments from unification theory of active galactic nuclei, we have earlier suggested that the inner parsec-scale region of M87 could still harbour a small torus sufficiently cold such that its infrared emission is dwarfed by the jet emission. The infrared emission from even a small cold torus could affect through photon-photon pair production interactions the escape of 100 GeV to TeV energy gamma rays from the central parsec of M87. The TeV gamma-ray flux from the inner jet of M87 has recently been predicted in the context of the Synchrotron Proton Blazar (SPB) model to extend up to at least 100 GeV (Protheroe, Donea, Reimer, 2002). Subsequently, the detection of gamma-rays above 730 GeV by the HEGRA Cherenkov telescopes has been reported. We discuss the interactions of gamma-rays produced in the inner jet of M87 with the weak infrared radiation expected from a possible dusty small-scale torus, and show that the HEGRA detection shows that the temperature of any torus surrounding the gamma-ray emission region must be cooler than about 250 K. We suggest that if no gamma-rays are in future detected during extreme flaring activity in M87 at other wavelength, this may be expected because of torus heating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-191
Number of pages6
JournalProgress of Theoretical Physics Supplement
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes

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