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GLAST-LAT detection of extraordinary gamma-ray activity in 3C 454.3

ATel #1628; G. Tosti (Univ/INFN-Perugia) , J. Chiang (SLAC), B. Lott (CENBG/Bordeaux), E. do Couto e Silva (SLAC), J. E. Grove (NRL/Washington), J. G. Thayer (SLAC) on behalf of the GLAST Large Area Telescope Collaboration
on 24 Jul 2008; 14:25 UT
Credential Certification: Gino Tosti (tosti@pg.infn.it)

Subjects: Gamma Ray, >GeV, AGN, Quasar

Referred to by ATel #: 1634, 1849, 2200, 2322, 2534, 2535

The Large Area Telescope (LAT), one of two instruments on the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) (launched June 11, 2008), which is still in its post-launch commissioning and checkout phase has been monitoring extraordinarily high flux from the gamma-ray blazar 3C 454.3 since June 28, 2008. This confirms the bright state of the source reported by AGILE (see ATel #1592) and by the optical-to-radio observers of the GASP-WEBT Project (ATel #1625).

3C 454.3 has been detected on time scales of hours with high significance (> 5 sigma) by the LAT Automatic Science Processing (ASP) pipeline and the daily light curve (E>100 MeV) indicates that the source flux has increased from the initial measurements on June 28. Although in-flight calibration is still ongoing, preliminary analysis indicates that in the period July 10-21, 2008 the source has been in a very high state with a flux (E>100MeV) that is well above all previously published values reported by both EGRET (Hartman et al. 1999, ApJS, 123,79) and AGILE (see e.g. ATel #1592 and Vercellone et al. 2008, ApJ,676,L13).

Because GLAST will continue with calibration activities, regular monitoring of this source cannot be pursued. Monitoring by the LAT is expected to resume in early August. In consideration of the ongoing activity of this source we strongly encourage multiwavelength observations of 3C 454.3.

The GLAST LAT is a pair conversion telescope designed to cover the energy band from 20 MeV to greater than 300 GeV. It is the product of an international collaboration between NASA and DOE in the U.S. and many scientific institutions across France, Italy, Japan and Sweden.