Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope

Radiative Signatures of Relativistic Reconnection in Blazar Jets

Ian Christie
(Petropoulou, M., Sironi, L., & Giannios, D.)


Relativistic magnetic reconnection, a process which converts magnetic energy to particle acceleration, is an ideal mechanism for the multi-wavelength spectral and temporal variability observed in blazar jets. By coupling recent two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations of relativistic reconnection with a time-dependent radiative transfer model, we compute the non-thermal emission from a chain of plasmoids, namely quasi-spherical blobs of plasma containing relativistic particles and magnetic fields formed during a reconnection event. Here, I will show that our derived photon spectra display characteristic features observed in both BL Lac sources and flat spectrum radio quasars. A differentiation in modeling the two subclasses is achieved by varying the strength of the photon fields external to the jet, the jet magnetization, and the number of electron-positron pairs per proton contained within. Additionally, I will present several observational signatures of our model including the statistical properties of plasmoid-powered flares, the correlation of flaring events in multi-wavelength bands, and the power-spectral density of our reconnection driven light curves.