Indexed on: 21 Feb '97Published on: 21 Feb '97Published in: Astrophysics
There are tantalizing hints that jets, powered by supermassive black holes at the center of active galaxies, are true cosmic proton accelerators. They produce photons of TeV energy, possible higher, and may be the enigmatic source of the highest energy cosmic rays. Photoproduction of neutral pions by accelerated protons on UV light is the source of the highest energy photons, in which most of the bolometric luminosity of the galaxy may be emitted. The case that proton beams power active galaxies is, however, far from conclusive. Neutrinos from the decay of charged pions represent an uncontrovertible signature for the proton induced cascades. We show that their flux can be estimated by model-independent methods, based on dimensional analysis and textbook particle physics. Our calculations also demonstrate why different models for the proton blazar yield very similar results for the neutrino flux, consistent with the ones obtained here.