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Title: Physics from time variability of the VHE Blazar PKS 2155-304
Author: Barres-de-Almeida, Ulisses
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2010
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Blazars are the principal extragalactic sources of very high energy gamma-ray emission in the Universe. These objects constitute a sub-class of Active Galactic Nuclei whose emission is dominated by Doppler boosted non-thermal radiation from plasma outflowing at relativistic speeds from the central engine. This plasma outflow happens in the form of large-scale collimated structures called jets, which can extend for Mpc in length and transport energy from the central engine of the galaxy to the larger scale intergalac- tic medium. Over thirty such sources have been discovered to date by ground-based gamma-ray telescopes such as H.E.S.S., and PKS 2155-304 is the prototypical southern-hemisphere representative of this population of objects. In this thesis I have studied in detail some aspects of the temporal variability of the jet emission from PKS 2155-304, combining coordinated observations across the electromagnetic spectrum, from optical polarimetric measurements to X-ray and ground-based gamma-ray data. The temporal properties of the dataset allowed us to derive important physical information about the structure and emission mechanisms of the source and put constraints to the location of the sites of VHE emission and particle acceleration within the jet. We have also derived a sensitive statistical measure, called Kolmogorov distance, which we applied to the large outburst observed from PKS 2155-304 in July 2006, to derive the most stringent constraints to date on limits for the violation of Lorentz invariance induced by quantum-gravity effects from AGN measurements.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available