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Title: A flat-spectrum flare in S4 0444+63 revealed by a new implementation of multiwavelength single-dish observations

Relativistic amplification boosts the contribution of the jet base to the total emission in blazars, thus making single-dish observations useful and practical to characterize their physical state, particularly during episodes of enhanced multiwavelength activity. Following the detection of a new gamma-ray source by Fermi-LAT in 2017 July, we observed S4 0444+63 in order to secure its identification as a gamma-ray blazar. We conducted observations with the Medicina and Noto radio telescopes at 5, 8, and 24 GHz for a total of 12 epochs between 2017 August 1 and 2018 September 22. We carried out the observations with on-the-fly cross-scans and reduced the data with our newly developed Cross-scan Analysis Pipeline, which we present here in detail for the first time. We found the source to be in an elevated state of emission at radio wavelength, compared to historical values, which lasted for several months. The maximum luminosity was reached on 2018 May 16 at 24 GHz, with $L_{24}=(1.7\pm 0.3)\times 10^{27}\ \mathrm{W\, Hz}^{-1}$; the spectral index was found to evolve from slightly rising to slightly steep. Besides the new observations, which have proved to be an effective and efficient tool to secure the identification of the source, additional single dish and very long more » baseline interferometry data provide further insight on the physics of the source. We estimate a synchrotron peak frequency νpeak = 1012.97 Hz and a Doppler factor in excess of δ ∼ 5.0, with both quantities playing a role in the gamma-ray emission from the source.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 2807-2817
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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