Publications by Will Potter


Modelling blazar flaring using a time-dependent fluid jet emission model - an explanation for orphan flares and radio lags

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press 473 (2017) 4107–4121-

W Potter

Blazar jets are renowned for their rapid violent variability and multiwavelength flares, however, the physical processes responsible for these flares are not well understood. In this paper we develop a time-dependent inhomogeneous fluid jet emission model for blazars. We model optically thick radio flares for the first time and show that they are delayed with respect to the prompt optically thin emission by ∼ months to decades, with a lag that increases with the jet power and observed wavelength. This lag is caused by a combination of the travel time of the flaring plasma to the optically thin radio emitting sections of the jet and the slow rise time of the radio flare. We predict two types of flares: symmetric flares - with the same rise and decay time, which occur for flares whose duration is shorter than both the radiative lifetime and the geometric path-length delay timescale; extended flares - whose luminosity tracks the power of particle acceleration in the flare, which occur for flares with a duration longer than both the radiative lifetime and geometric delay. Our model naturally produces orphan X-ray and γ-ray flares. These are caused by flares which are only observable above the quiescent jet emission in a narrow band of frequencies. Our model is able to successfully fit to the observed multiwavelength flaring spectra and lightcurves of PKS1502+106 across all wavelengths, using a transient flaring front located within the broad-line region.


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