Optical Variability of the Blazar OJ 287

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Session 88 -- Mulit-Wavelength Observations of Blazars and BL Lacertae Obj Objects
Oral presentation, Wednesday, 11, 1995, 10:00am - 11:30am

[88.07] Optical Variability of the Blazar OJ 287

A. Sadun (Bradley Observatory, Agnes Scott College), A. Sillanpaa, L. O. Takalo (Tuorla Observatory), T. Pursimo (Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias), H. Lehto, K. Nilsson (Tuorla Observatory), M. Kidger, J. A. de Diego, J. N. Gonzalez-Perez, J.-M. Rodriguez-Espinosa, T. Mahoney (Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias), P. Boltwood (1655 Main St., Stittsville, Ont., Canada), D. Dulzin-Hacyan, E. Benitez (Instituto de Astronomia, Mexico), G. W. Turner, J. W. Robertson, R. K. Honeycut (Department of Astronomy, Indiana University), Yu. S. Efimov, N. Shakhovskoy (Crimean Astrophysical Observatory), P. A. Charles (Department of Astrophysics, University of Oxford), K. J. Schramm, U. Borgeest, J. V. Linde (Hamburg Sternwarte, Hamburg Universitat), R. Grashuis (Capilla Peak Observatory, University of New Mexico)

An international collaboration of fourty scientists have been involved in multifrequency observations of the blazar OJ 287, as well as of a few other complementary objects, taken both photometrically and spectroscopically. We present the optical light curve of OJ 287 obtained between the fall of 1993 through the present. Over 1200 photometric observations in the visible were taken between September 1993 and June 1994 alone. The data set represents the best ever observed light curve for any extragalactic object. This light curve shows significant variability down to time scales as short as tens of minutes, and amplitudes as great as two magnitudes. A series of small outbursts were seen from December 1993 through April 1994, and during most of the coverage there has been a slow upward trend in the light output. Analysis of the variability and questions of periodicity are discussed.

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