Context. We present the discovery of very high energy (VHE, E > 100 GeV) γ-ray emission from the BL Lac object 1ES 1215+303 by the MAGIC telescopes and simultaneous multi-wavelength data in a broad energy range from radio to γ-rays. Aims. We study the VHE γ-ray emission from 1ES 1215+303 and its relation to the emissions in other wavelengths. Methods. Triggered by an optical outburst, MAGIC observed the source in 2011 January-February for 20.3 h. The target was monitored in the optical R-band by the KVA telescope that also performed optical polarization measurements. We triggered target of opportunity observations with the Swift satellite and obtained simultaneous and quasi-simultaneous data from the Fermi Large Area Telescope and from the Metsähovi radio telescope. We also present the analysis of older MAGIC data taken in 2010. Results. The MAGIC observations of 1ES 1215+303 carried out in 2011 January-February resulted in the first detection of the source at VHE with a statistical significance of 9.4σ. Simultaneously, the source was observed in a high optical and X-ray state. In 2010 the source was observed in a lower state in optical, X-ray, and VHE, while the GeV γ-ray flux and the radio flux were comparable in 2010 and 2011. The spectral energy distribution obtained with the 2011 data can be modeled with a simple one zone SSC model, but it requires extreme values for the Doppler factor or the electron energy distribution. © 2012 ESO.
- BL Lacertae objects: individual: 1ES 1215+303
- Gamma-rays: galaxies