Test of models of the cosmic infrared background with multiwavelength observations of the blazar 1ES 1218+30.4 in 2009

S. Archambault, T. Arlen, T. Aune, M. Beilicke, W. Benbow, R. Bird, M. Böttcher, A. Bouvier, J. H. Buckley, V. Bugaev, L. Ciupik, E. Collins-Hughes, M. P. Connolly, W. Cui, R. Dickherber, J. Dumm, M. Errando, A. Falcone, S. Federici, Q. FengJ. P. Finley, L. Fortson, A. Furniss, N. Galante, D. Gall, A. Iii Garson, G. H. Gillanders, S. Griffin, J. Grube, C. Gusbar, G. Gyuk, D. Hanna, J. Holder, G. Hughes, P. Kaaret, M. Kertzman, Y. Khassen, D. Kieda, H. Krawczynski, A. Lamerato, M. J. Lang, K. Li, A. S. Madhavan, G. Maier, P. Majumdar, S. McArthur, A. McCann, J. Millis, P. Moriarty, R. Mukherjee

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We present the results of a multi-wavelength campaign targeting the blazar 1ES 1218+30.4 with observations with the 1.3 m McGraw-Hill optical telescope, the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, and the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS). The RXTE and VERITAS observations were spread over a 13 day period and revealed clear evidence for flux variability, and a strong X-ray and γ-ray flare on 2009 February 26 (MJD 54888). The campaign delivered a well-sampled broadband energy spectrum with simultaneous RXTE and VERITAS very high energy (VHE, >100 GeV) observations, as well as contemporaneous optical and Fermi observations. The 1ES 1218+30.4 broadband energy spectrum - the first with simultaneous X-ray and VHE γ-ray energy spectra - is of particular interest as the source is located at a high cosmological redshift for a VHE source (z = 0.182), leading to strong absorption of VHE gamma rays by photons from the optical/infrared extragalactic background light (EBL) via γVHE + γEBL → e + e - pair-creation processes. We model the data with a one-zone synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) emission model and with the extragalactic absorption predicted by several recent EBL models. We find that the observations are consistent with the SSC scenario and all the EBL models considered in this work. We discuss observational and theoretical avenues to improve on the EBL constraints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number158
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 20 2014


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