AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 167 Quasars and Blazars
Oral, Thursday, January 13, 2005, 2:00-3:30pm, Royal Palm 1-3

Previous   |   Session 167   |   Next

[167.06] The Character of Optical Variability for X-Ray Selected Blazars

A.M. Campbell (GSU,LSU), H.R. Miller (GSU)

The study of variability in blazars has primarily focused on short-term variations, or microvariability, at all wavelengths. We present results of an intensive investigation of seven X-ray selected blazars from timescales of minutes to decades. These results indicate that the occurrence and amplitude of microvariability is independent of state, a characteristic also found for a radio-selected blazar, BL Lacertae. This result precludes processes that require a discrete amount of energy and implies that the ``intensity'' of the microvariations scales with the overall intensity of the blazar. However, the amplitude of the observed microvariations for X-ray selected blazars is relatively small compared to the observed microvariability amplitudes for radio-selected blazars. This remains true after the host galaxy has been deconvolved from the blazar. The amplitude (in magnitudes) of variations, which are believed to be associated with major shocks along a relativistic jet, occuring on intermediate timescales, ~days--week, is also independent of the luminosity state of the blazar. The typical magnitude range for X-ray selected blazars over decades is significantly smaller than that observed for radio-selected blazars (i.e., ~2 magnitudes compared to ~5 magnitudes). Structure function analyses has yielded interesting results. For example, the minimum timescale, which is a measurment of the size of the emission region, has been found to be typically <20 minutes. The structure function analyses provides evidence that suggests that the size of the emission region may change in a matter of hours. There is also evidence that suggests that the occurrence of optical microvariability is related to the strength of the radio jet, in terms of the apparent speed (c) and the rest frame intensity.

Previous   |   Session 167   |   Next

Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 5
© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.