The active galactic nucleus PKS 0301-243 (z = 0.266) is a high-synchrotron-peaked BL Lac object that is detected at high energies (HE, 100 MeV <E < 100 GeV) by Fermi/LAT. This paper reports on the discovery of PKS 0301-243 at very high energies (E > 100 GeV) by the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) from observations between September 2009 and December 2011 for a total live time of 34.9 h. Gamma rays above 200 GeV are detected at a significance of 9.4σ. A hint of variability at the 2.5σ level is found. An integral flux I(E > 200 GeV) = (3.3 ± 1.1stat ± 0.7syst) × 10-12 ph cm-2 s-1 and a photon index Γ = 4.6 ± 0.7stat ± 0.2syst are measured. Multi-wavelength light curves in HE, X-ray and optical bands show strong variability, and a minimal variability timescale of eight days is estimated from the optical light curve. A single-zone leptonic synchrotron self-Compton scenario satisfactorily reproduces the multi-wavelength data. In this model, the emitting region is out of equipartition and the jet is particle dominated. Because of its high redshift compared to other sources observed at TeV energies, the very high energy emission from PKS 0301-243 is attenuated by the extragalactic background light (EBL) and the measured spectrum is used to derive an upper limit on the opacity of the EBL.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The support of the Namibian authorities and of the University of Namibia in facilitating the construction and operation of H.E.S.S. is gratefully acknowledged, as is the support by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), the Max Planck Society, the German Research Foundation (DFG), the French Ministry for Research, the CNRS-IN2P3 and the Astroparticle Interdisciplinary Programme of the CNRS, the U.K. Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the IPNP of the Charles University, the Czech Science Foundation, the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the South African Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation, and by the University of Namibia. We appreciate the excellent work of the technical support staff in Berlin, Durham, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Palaiseau, Paris, Saclay, and in Namibia in the construction and operation of the equipment. The authors acknowledge the support by the Swift team for providing ToO observations, and the use of the public HEASARC software packages. This research made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) and of the SIMBAD Astronomical Database. Part of this work is based on archival data, software, or on-line services provided by the ASI Science Data Center (ASDC). The authors would like to thank the anonymous referee for the useful and constructive comments that contributed to improving this manuscript.
- BL Lacertae objects: general
- BL Lacertae objects: individual: PKS 0301-243
- Galaxies: active
- Gamma rays: galaxies
- Radiation mechanisms: non-thermal