Filling the infrared gap: ISO observations of 1 Jy BL Lacertae objects

P. Padovani, P. Giommi, P. Abraham, S. Csizmadia, A. Moór

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


Aims. The large majority of BL Lacertae objects belonging to the 1 Jy sample, the class prototype for radio-selected sources, are thought to emit most of their synchrotron power in the far infrared band. Ironically, this spectral region is very sparsely sampled, with only a minority of the objects having IRAS data (most of them being upper limits or low-quality detections). We aim at filling this infrared gap by presenting new, simultaneous ISOCAM and ISOPHOT observations over the 7-200 μm range (observer's frame) for half the sample. A precise measurement of the position of the synchrotron peak frequency, νpeak, can provide direct information about particle acceleration mechanisms and constrain the inverse Compton radiation that will be detected by up-coming new γ-ray missions. Methods. We have observed seventeen 1 Jy BL Lacertae objects with the camera and the photometer on board the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) satellite. Given the intrinsic variability of these sources, the data were taken by concatenating the pointings to ensure simultaneity. The ISOPHOT data reduction was done employing a novel correction, which mitigates the effect of chopping for faint sources. Results. Using our new ISO data, complemented by nearly-simultaneous radio and optical observations for ten and four objects respectively, and other multi-frequency data, we have built the spectral energy distributions of our sources (plus a previously published one) and derived the rest-frame νpeak. Its distribution is centred at ∼1013 Hz (∼30 μm) and is very narrow, with ∼60% of the BL Lacs in the 1-3 × 1013 Hz range. Given our set of simultaneous infrared data, these represent the best determinations available of the synchrotron peak frequencies for low-energy peaked BL Lacs. A comparison with previous such estimates, based on non-simultaneous optical and near infrared data, may indicate strong νpeak variations in a number of sources, possibly associated with large flares as observed in the high-energy peaked BL Lac MKN 501.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006


  • Galaxies: BL Lacertae objects: general
  • Infrared: galaxies
  • Methods: data analysis
  • Radiation mechanisms: non-thermal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Filling the infrared gap: ISO observations of 1 Jy BL Lacertae objects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this