The first gamma-ray emitting BL lacertae object at the cosmic dawn

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Paliya, Vaidehi S.
Domínguez, A.
Cabello, C.
Siana, Brian
Ajello, M.
Hartmann, D.
Gil de Paz, Armando
Stalin, C.S.
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One of the major challenges in studying the cosmic evolution of relativistic jets is the identification of the high-redshift (z > 3) BL Lacertae objects, a class of jetted active galactic nuclei characterized by their quasi-featureless optical spectra. Here we report the identification of the first γ-ray emitting BL Lac object, 4FGL J1219.0+3653 (J1219), beyond z = 3, i.e., within the first two billion years of the age of the Universe. The optical and near-infrared spectra of J1219 taken from 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias exhibit no emission lines down to an equivalent width of ∼3.5 Å supporting its BL Lac nature. The detection of a strong Lyman- α break at ∼5570 Å, on the other hand, confirms that J2119 is indeed a high-redshift ( z ∼ 3.59) quasar. Based on the prediction of a recent BL Lac evolution model, J1219 is one of the only two such objects expected to be present within the comoving volume at z = 3.5. Future identifications of more z > 3 γ-ray emitting BL Lac sources, therefore, will be crucial to verify the theories of their cosmic evolution.
© Copyright 2020 IOP Publishing. We are thankful to the referee for a constructive criticism. VSP’s work was supported by the Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association. A.D. acknowledges the support of the Ramón y Cajal program from the Spanish MINECO. CC, NC JG, and AGdP acknowledge financial support from the Spanish Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad under grant RTI2018-096188- B-I00, which is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). We are grateful to IAC Director for approving our DDT request. This work is based on observations made with the GTC telescope, in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, under Director’s Discretionary Time.
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