Statistical properties of flux variations in blazar light curves at GeV and TeV energies
July 06, 2021
March 18, 2022
Despite numerous detections of individual flares, the physical origin of the rapid variability observed from blazars remains uncertain.
Using Bayesian blocks and the Eisenstein-Hut HOP algorithm, we characterize flux variations of high significance in the $\gamma$-ray light curves of two samples of blazars. Daily binned long-term light curves of TeV-bright blazars observed with the First G-APD Cherenkov Telescope (FACT) are compared to those of GeV-bright blazars observed with the Large Area Telescope on board the $Fermi$ Gamma-ray Space Telescope ($Fermi$-LAT). We find no evidence for systematic asymmetry of the flux variations based on the derived rise and decay time scales. Additionally, we show that the daily-binned blazar light curves can be described by an exponential stochastic Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process with parameters depending on energy. Our analysis suggests that the flux variability in both samples is a superposition of faster fluctuations. This is, for instance, challenging to explain by shock-acceleration but expected for magnetic reconnection.
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