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Gamma-ray flux variation studies from the blazar B2 1215+30 with the Fermi-LAT and the Crab Nebula with the H.E.S.S. experiment

Abstract : The current state-of-the-art experiments in gamma-ray astronomy are the Fermi-LAT in space and the ground-based H.E.S.S., VERITAS and MAGIC experiments. The monitoring of the very-high-energy gamma-ray emitting sources indicates the diverse physics taking place in astrophysical environments. To study the most energetic form of radiation and the most violent phenomena taking place in the Universe, individual source analyses are important. BL Lac objects, a subcategory of active galaxies, are the most abundant source class detected both in the GeV andTeV energies, while pulsar wind nebulae represent the most numerous identified source class in the galactic plane. Both source classes exhibit gamma-ray flux variations.In this thesis, the gamma-ray variability of the BL Lac object B2 1215+30 is presented with Fermi-LAT data. A bright flare, with 16 times the average quiescent flux, was detected in February 2014.In collaboration with the VERITAS experiment, the gamma-ray variability was investigated over five decades in energy. This work resulted in the detection of a luminous flare, seen simultaneously in GeV and TeV energies by both instruments. These results were used to set constraints on the size of the emission region and on the Doppler factor of the relativistic jet. Additionally, the long-term variability was studied using nine years of Fermi-LAT data. This brought out new flux enhancements, which characterize the long-term lightcurve from 100 MeV up to 500 GeV. Other striking characteristics are a steady linear increase of the yearly average flux, together with a hardening of the spectral index. The investigation of the light curve indicates a hint of quasi-periodic behavior with a period of around 1083±32 days.This work includes spectrum and flux variability studies for the well-studied but ever-surprising Crab Nebula at TeV energies with more than a decade of H.E.S.S. observations. The spectrum measured in this work goes from 280 GeV to 62 TeV, making this the first measurement tha textends to such very-high-energies. Considered as a standard candle for ground-based gamma-ray astronomy, the Crab Nebula is also used for calibration and instrument studies. The detection of GeV flares by the Fermi-LAT were unexpected and motivated the search of flux variations at TeVenergies with the H.E.S.S. experiment. The position of the Crab Nebula in the northern hemisphere makes this investigation challenging due to the large systematic uncertainties introduced by the non-optimal observation conditions. This work showed that the systematic uncertainties can be reduced by taking into account the atmospheric transparency. No flux variations were found at energies above 1 TeV from the H.E.S.S. I data. A flare reported by the Fermi-LAT in October 2016 was also investigated. This analysis showed the GeV flare lasting for one month, while the flux withH.E.S.S. II had an excess variance of 15 %. This should be compared to the commonly quoted 20% systematic uncertainty by H.E.S.S. experiment.
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Submitted on : Friday, March 30, 2018 - 5:46:06 PM
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Floriana Zefi. Gamma-ray flux variation studies from the blazar B2 1215+30 with the Fermi-LAT and the Crab Nebula with the H.E.S.S. experiment. Cosmology and Extra-Galactic Astrophysics [astro-ph.CO]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017SACLS587⟩. ⟨tel-01755774⟩



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