Active Galactic Nuclei under the scrutiny of CTA
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Type of Work28 pages
journal articles preprints
Citation of Original PublicationH. Sol et al., Active Galactic Nuclei under the scrutiny of CTA, Astroparticle Physics Volume 43, Pages 215-240 (2013), doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.astropartphys.2012.12.005
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© 2012 Published by Elsevier B.V.
Active Galactic Nuclei (hereafter AGN) produce powerful outflows which offer excellent conditions for efficient particle acceleration in internal and external shocks, turbulence, and magnetic reconnection events. The jets as well as particle accelerating regions close to the supermassive black holes (hereafter SMBH) at the intersection of plasma inflows and outflows, can produce readily detectable very high energy gamma-ray emission. As of now, more than 45 AGN including 41 blazars and 4 radiogalaxies have been detected by the present ground-based gamma-ray telescopes, which represents more than one third of the cosmic sources detected so far in the VHE gamma-ray regime. The future Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) should boost the sample of AGN detected in the VHE range by about one order of magnitude, shedding new light on AGN population studies, and AGN classification and unification schemes. CTA will be a unique tool to scrutinize the extreme high-energy tail of accelerated particles in SMBH environments, to revisit the central engines and their associated relativistic jets, and to study the particle acceleration and emission mechanisms, particularly exploring the missing link between accretion physics, SMBH magnetospheres and jet formation. Monitoring of distant AGN will be an extremely rewarding observing program which will inform us about the inner workings and evolution of AGN. Furthermore these AGN are bright beacons of gamma-rays which will allow us to constrain the extragalactic infrared and optical backgrounds as well as the intergalactic magnetic field, and will enable tests of quantum gravity and other “exotic” phenomena.