We analyze the timing of photons observed by the MAGIC telescope during a flare of the active galactic nucleus Mkn 501 for a possible correlation with energy, as suggested by some models of quantum gravity (QG), which predict a vacuum refractive index ≃ 1 + (E / MQGn)n, n = 1, 2. Parametrizing the delay between γ-rays of different energies as Δ t = ± τl E or Δ t = ± τq E2, we find τl = (0.030 ± 0.012) s / GeV at the 2.5-σ level, and τq = (3.71 ± 2.57) × 10-6 s / GeV2, respectively. We use these results to establish lower limits MQG 1 > 0.21 × 1018 GeV and MQG 2 > 0.26 × 1011 GeV at the 95% C.L. Monte Carlo studies confirm the MAGIC sensitivity to propagation effects at these levels. Thermal plasma effects in the source are negligible, but we cannot exclude the importance of some other source effect. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Active galactic nuclei
- Gamma-ray sources (Individual: Mkn 501)
- Particle acceleration
- Quantum gravity
- Supersymmetric models