AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 98. Blazars and Other AGN Jets
Display, Wednesday, January 9, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

[Previous] | [Session 98] | [Next]

[98.09] Microvariability of the Blazar 3C 279 During the 2001 Optical Outburst

T.J. Balonek, J.S. Kartaltepe (Colgate Univ.)

We present a thirteen year optical (R) light curve for the blazar 3C 279 from 1989 through 2001. We study the long and short time scale variations during this period, but concentrate on the intra-night and night-to-night variations during the intense outburst in 2001. Although 3C 279 has been the object of several previous multiwavelength campaigns, our investigation of both the intra-day and long term activity during an extended outburst is the most extensive and well-sampled at optical wavelengths. Observations were conducted at the Foggy Bottom Observatory at Colgate University using a sixteen inch Cassegrain telescope and CCD camera.

During 2001 the brightness of 3C 279 ranged over three magnitudes, with night-to-night variations of up to one half magnitude. The 2001 outburst began in March, after 3C 279 had faded to its faintest level, R = 15.5, in four years. The blazar was still active in August, at its brightest level (R = 12.5) in the thirteen years of our study, at which time it became unobservable due to its proximity to the Sun. The source flared numerous times during the six month outburst period, with day-to-day variations (and intra-night microvariability of 0.2 mag in five hours) superposed upon approximately week-long one magnitude flares.

In a companion study, Marscher (this meeting) finds that some of the flares appear to be strongly correlated with x-ray events, while others do not exhibit simple correlations. Different physical phenomena may be needed in order to explain the differences in these events.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://astronomy.colgate.edu/astronomy/quasaroptical.html. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: tbalonek@mail.colgate.edu

[Previous] | [Session 98] | [Next]