Context. Very-high-energy (VHE; E > 100 GeV) γ-ray emission from blazars inevitably gives rise to electron-positron pair production through the interaction of these γ-rays with the extragalactic background light (EBL). Depending on the magnetic fields in the proximity of the source, the cascade initiated from pair production can result in either an isotropic halo around an initially beamed source or a magnetically broadened cascade flux. Aims. Both extended pair-halo (PH) and magnetically broadened cascade (MBC) emission from regions surrounding the blazars 1ES 1101-232, 1ES 0229+200, and PKS 2155-304 were searched for using VHE γ-ray data taken with the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) and high-energy (HE; 100 MeV < E < 100 GeV) γ-ray data with the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT). Methods. By comparing the angular distributions of the reconstructed γ-ray events to the angular profiles calculated from detailed theoretical models, the presence of PH and MBC was investigated. Results. Upper limits on the extended emission around 1ES 1101-232, 1ES 0229+200, and PKS 2155-304 are found to be at a level of a few per cent of the Crab nebula flux above 1 TeV, depending on the assumed photon index of the cascade emission. Assuming strong extra-Galactic magnetic field (EGMF) values, >10-12 G, this limits the production of pair haloes developing from electromagnetic cascades. For weaker magnetic fields, in which electromagnetic cascades would result in MBCs, EGMF strengths in the range (0.3-3) × 10-15 G were excluded for PKS 2155-304 at the 99% confidence level, under the assumption of a 1 Mpc coherence length.
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 UK 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 are grateful to the referee who helped to considerably improve the quality of the paper.
- BL Lacertae objects: individual: 1ES 1101-232
- BL Lacertae objects: individual: PKS 2155-304
- Galaxies: magnetic fields
- Gamma rays: galaxies
- Intergalactic medium