Deep Broadband Observations of the Distant Gamma-ray Blazar PKS 1424+240 [HEAP]

We present deep VERITAS observations of the blazar PKS 1424+240, along with contemporaneous Fermi Large Area Telescope, Swift X-ray Telescope and Swift UV Optical Telescope data between 2009 February 19 and 2013 June 8. This blazar resides at a redshift of $z\ge0.6035$, displaying a significantly attenuated gamma-ray flux above 100 GeV due to photon absorption via pair-production with the extragalactic background light. We present more than 100 hours of VERITAS observations from three years, a multiwavelength light curve and the contemporaneous spectral energy distributions. The source shows a higher flux of (2.1$\pm0.3$)$\times10^{-7}$ ph m$^{-2}$s$^{-1}$ above 120 GeV in 2009 and 2011 as compared to the flux measured in 2013, corresponding to (1.02$\pm0.08$)$\times10^{-7}$ ph m$^{-2}$s$^{-1}$ above 120 GeV. The measured differential very high energy (VHE; $E\ge100$ GeV) spectral indices are $\Gamma=$3.8$\pm$0.3, 4.3$\pm$0.6 and 4.5$\pm$0.2 in 2009, 2011 and 2013, respectively. No significant spectral change across the observation epochs is detected. We find no evidence for variability at gamma-ray opacities of greater than $\tau=2$, where it is postulated that any variability would be small and occur on longer than year timescales if hadronic cosmic-ray interactions with extragalactic photon fields provide a secondary VHE photon flux. The data cannot rule out such variability due to low statistics.

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S. Archambault, T. Aune, B. Behera, et. al.
Wed, 19 Mar 14