We report on the VERITAS discovery of very high energy (VHE) gamma-ray emission above 200GeV from the high-frequency-peaked BL Lac (HBL) object RXJ0648.7+1516 (GBJ0648+1516), associated with 1FGLJ0648.8+1516. The photon spectrum above 200GeV is fitted by a power law dN/dE = F 0(E/E 0)-Γ with a photon index Γ of 4.4 ± 0.8stat± 0.3syst and a flux normalization F 0 of (2.3± 0.5stat± 1.2sys) × 10-11TeV-1cm-2 s-1 with E 0 = 300GeV. No VHE variability is detected during VERITAS observations of RXJ0648.7+1516 between 2010 March 4 and April 15. Following the VHE discovery, the optical identification and spectroscopic redshift were obtained using the Shane 3 m Telescope at the Lick Observatory, showing the unidentified object to be a BL Lac type with a redshift of z = 0.179. Broadband multiwavelength observations contemporaneous with the VERITAS exposure period can be used to subclassify the blazar as an HBL object, including data from the MDM observatory, Swift-UVOT, and X-Ray Telescope, and continuous monitoring at photon energies above 1GeV from the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT). We find that in the absence of undetected, high-energy rapid variability, the one-zone synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) model overproduces the high-energy gamma-ray emission measured by the Fermi-LAT over 2.3 years. The spectral energy distribution can be parameterized satisfactorily with an external-Compton or lepto-hadronic model, which have two and six additional free parameters, respectively, compared to the one-zone SSC model.
- gamma rays: galaxies