AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 11. Seyfert Galaxies and AGNs
Poster, Monday, January 6, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[11.01] The Various Timescales in the Optical Variability of the Blazar 3C 279

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

We combine our fourteen year (1989-2002) optical (R) light curve with historical data to study the long and short timescale variations in the blazar 3C 279 . Although 3C 279 has been the subject of many previous studies, our observations during several outbursts are among the best sampled at visual wavelengths. Of particular note is our extensive coverage of the intra-day and longer timescale variations during the intense outburst in 2001-2002.

We conducted observations on about 800 nights using a sixteen inch Cassegrain telescope and CCD camera at the Colgate University Foggy Bottom Observatory. In a typical observing season for this object, which for our site extends from mid-November to early August, observations were obtained on fifty to sixty nights.

The blazar was active throughout the fourteen year period of our study, with the brightness ranging over four magnitudes (from R = 16.7 to 12.5). Historically, this object has exhibited optical outbursts of amplitude nearly six magnitudes. During our study, 3C 279 exhibited optical variability on a range of timescales: intra-night and night-to-night microvariability (of amplitude several tenths to half a magnitude), one to several week duration flares (as large as two magnitudes), one to two year outbursts (two to four magnitudes), and decade long underlying "base level" changes.

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

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #4
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.