The exact location of the gamma-ray emitting region in blazars is still controversial. In order to attack this problem we present first results of a cross-correlation analysis between radio (11 cm to 0.8 mm wavelength, F-GAMMA program) and gamma-ray (0.1-300 GeV) ~ 3.5 year light curves of 54 Fermi-bright blazars. We perform a source stacking analysis and estimate significances and chance correlations using mixed source correlations. Our results reveal: (i) the first highly significant multi-band radio and gamma-ray correlations (radio lagging gamma rays) when averaging over the whole sample, (ii) average time delays (source frame: 76+/-23 to 7+/-9 days), systematically decreasing from cm to mm/sub-mm bands with a frequency dependence tau_r,gamma (nu) ~ nu^-1, in good agreement with jet opacity dominated by synchrotron self-absorption, (iii) a bulk gamma-ray production region typically located within/upstream of the 3 mm core region (tau_3mm,gamma=12+/-8 days), (iv) mean distances between the region of gamma-ray peak emission and the radio “tau=1 photosphere” decreasing from 9.8+/-3.0 pc (11 cm) to 0.9+/-1.1 pc (2 mm) and 1.4+/-0.8 pc (0.8 mm), (v) 3 mm/gamma-ray correlations in 9 individual sources at a significance level where one is expected by chance (probability: 4 times 10^-6), (vi) opacity and “time lag core shift” estimates for quasar 3C 454.3 providing a lower limit for the distance of the bulk gamma-ray production region from the supermassive black hole (SMBH) of ~ 0.8-1.6 pc, i.e. at the outer edge of the Broad Line Region (BLR) or beyond. A 3 mm tau=1 surface at ~ 2-3 pc from the jet-base (i.e. well outside the “canonical BLR”) finally suggests that BLR material extends to several pc distances from the SMBH.
L. Fuhrmann, S. Larsson, J. Chiang, et. al.
Tue, 18 Mar 14