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

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[98.10] Optical Outbursts of the Blazar BL Lacertae in 2000-2001

L. F. Brown (Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, Connecticut College), T. J. Balonek (Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, Colgate University), J. L. Beem (Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, Connecticut College), E. K. Fryer, M. A. Caler (Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, Colgate University), C. S. Peters (Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, Connecticut College)

BL Lacertae (2200+420; z=0.0686) is a well-known blazar that exhibits rapid and often large changes in flux in all wavebands. In the optical bands, this source is extremely variable on all time scales that have been monitored. Because of this rapid and complex variability behavior, the study of this object can benefit from monitoring at several observatories. In this spirit, observations from Colgate University's Foggy Bottom Observatory and Connecticut College's Olin Observatory were conflated to produce a more complete, better sampled, light curve. We chronicle the most recent variability of this classic AGN over a one and a half year interval, focusing on microvariability.

We present new optical (R filter) CCD photometric observations of BL Lac covering the time from June 2000 through November 2001. At the start and end of this interval the source was relatively inactive, around R=14.3. During the intervening period it was in an active phase exhibiting several distinct outbursts. We obtained improved sampling during one outburst, lasting from May through August 2001, that reached a peak brightness of R=12.5 in July. On several nights, we found microvariability on the order of 0.1 magnitude within one to two hours. We did not see variations greater than 0.3 magnitude between nights, althought this limit may be set by undersampling. This hour to day variability is less extreme than that observed in the outburst of 1997.

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: lfbro@conncoll.edu

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