Adursh Iyer, a 2018-19 UMBC URA Scholar, has published a paper entitled, "The Origin of the X-Ray Emission in Two Well-aligned Extragalactic Jets: The Case for IC/CMB", with his mentor, Dr. Eileen Meyer (Dept. of Physics) in the Astrophysical Journal Letters:
Nearly all galaxies in the universe contain a super-massive black hole at their centers, with some fraction of them hosting an Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN). In some cases, these systems produce relativistic jets of ionized plasma, but the nature of the X-ray emission of these jets is still a matter of ongoing debate. A popular explanation for the X-ray emission has been inverse-Compton scattering of the Cosmic Microwave Background (IC/CMB), where a population of relativistic electrons upscatter ambient photons of the CMB. While we have been able to rule out the IC/CMB model in dozens of sources due to violation of gamma-ray upper limits, the results in this paper are the first detection of the IC/CMB model. The two blazar sources we analyzed (OJ 287 and PKS 1510-089) are clear outliers in that they are highly superluminal relative to their jet power, which agrees with the energetics required by the IC/CMB model. Continued long-term monitoring with the Fermi/LAT could solidify these cases by detecting a plateau signature in the recombined light-curve which would clearly signal the presence of a non-variable emission component consistent with IC/CMB.
Congratulations, Adursh and Dr. Meyer's Astrophysics Research Group!