TeV γ-rays and cosmic rays from the nucleus of M87, a mis-aligned BL Lac object

R. J. Protheroe, A. C. Donea, A. Reimer

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The unresolved nuclear region of M87 emits strong non-thermal emission from radio to X-rays. Assuming this emission to originate in the pc scale jet aligned at θ∼30° to the line of sight, we interpret this emission in the context of the synchrotron proton blazar model. We find the observed nuclear jet emission to be consistent with M87 being a mis-aligned BL Lac object and predict γ-ray emission extending up to at least 100 GeV at a level easily detectable by GLAST and MAGIC, and possibly by VERITAS depending on whether it is high-frequency or low-frequency peaked. Predicted neutrino emission is below the sensitivity of existing and planned neutrino telescopes. Ultra-high-energy neutrons produced in pion photoproduction interactions decay into protons after escaping from the host galaxy. Because energetic protons are deflected by the intergalactic magnetic field, the protons from the decay of neutrons emitted in all directions, including along the jet axis where the Doppler factor and hence emitted neutron energies are higher, can contribute to the observed ultra-high-energy cosmic rays. We consider the propagation of these cosmic ray protons to Earth and conclude that M87 could account for the observed flux if the extragalactic magnetic field topology were favourable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-568
Number of pages10
JournalAstroparticle Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes

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