X-ray spectra, light curves and SEDs of blazars frequently observed by Swift

Paolo Giommi, M. Perri, M. Capalbi, V. D’Elia, U. Barres de Almeida, C. H. Brandt, A. M.T. Pollock, F. Arneodo, A. Di Giovanni, Y. L. Chang, O. Civitarese, M. de Angelis, C. Leto, F. Verrecchia, N. Ricard, S. Di Pippo, R. Middei, A. V. Penacchioni, R. Ruffini, N. SahakyanD. Israyelyan, S. Turriziani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Blazars research is one of the hot topics of contemporary extragalactic astrophysics. That is because these sources are the most abundant type of extragalactic γ-ray sources and are suspected to play a central role in multimessenger astrophysics. We have used Swift xrtproc, a tool to carry out an accurate spectral and photometric analysis of the Swift-XRT data of all blazars observed by Swift at least 50 times between December 2004 and the end of 2020. We present a database of X-ray spectra, best-fit parameter values, count rates and flux estimations in several energy bands of over 31 000 X-ray observations and single snapshots of 65 blazars. The results of the X-ray analysis have been combined with other multifrequency archival data to assemble the broad-band Spectral Energy Distributions (SEDs) and the long-term light curves of all sources in the sample. Our study shows that large X-ray luminosity variability on different time-scales is present in all objects. Spectral changes are also frequently observed with a ‘harder-when-brighter’ or ‘softer-when-brighter’ behaviour depending on the SED type of the blazars. The peak energy of the synchrotron component (νpeak) in the SED of HBL blazars, estimated from the log-parabolic shape of their X-ray spectra, also exhibits very large changes in the same source, spanning a range of over two orders of magnitude in Mrk421 and Mrk501, the objects with the best data sets in our sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5690-5702
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • Astronomical data bases: catalogues
  • Galaxies: BL Lacertae objects
  • Galaxies: active
  • Methods: data analysis
  • Quasars: general
  • X-rays: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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