Sequim, WA, United States
Sequim, WA, United States

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Raiteri C.M.,National institute for astrophysics | Villata M.,National institute for astrophysics | Smith P.S.,University of Arizona | Larionov V.M.,Saint Petersburg State University | And 86 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2012

Context. After years of modest optical activity, the quasar-type blazar 4C 38.41 (B3 1633+382) experienced a large outburst in 2011, which was detected throughout the entire electromagnetic spectrum, renewing interest in this source. Aims. We present the results of low-energy multifrequency monitoring by the GLAST-AGILE Support Program (GASP) of the Whole Earth Blazar Telescope (WEBT) consortium and collaborators, as well as those of spectropolarimetric/ spectrophotometric monitoring at the Steward Observatory. We also analyse high-energy observations of the Swift and Fermi satellites. This combined study aims to provide insights into the source broad-band emission and variability properties. Methods. We assemble optical, near-infrared, millimetre, and radio light curves and investigate their features and correlations. In the optical, we also analyse the spectroscopic and polarimetric properties of the source. We then compare the low-energy emission behaviour with that at high energies. Results. In the optical-UV band, several results indicate that there is a contribution from a quasi-stellar-object (QSO) like emission component, in addition to both variable and polarised jet emission. In the optical, the source is redder-when-brighter, at least for R a3; 16. The optical spectra display broad emission lines, whose flux is constant in time. The observed degree of polarisation increases with flux and is higher in the red than the blue. The spectral energy distribution reveals a bump peaking around the U band. The unpolarised emission component is likely thermal radiation from the accretion disc that dilutes the jet polarisation. We estimate its brightness to be R QSO ∼ 17.85-18 and derive the intrinsic jet polarisation degree. We find no clear correlation between the optical and radio light curves, while the correlation between the optical and γ-ray flux apparently fades in time, likely because of an increasing optical to γ-ray flux ratio. Conclusions. As suggested for other blazars, the long-term variability of 4C 38.41 can be interpreted in terms of an inhomogeneous bent jet, where different emitting regions can change their alignment with respect to the line of sight, leading to variations in the Doppler factor δ. Under the hypothesis that in the period 2008-2011 all the γ-ray and optical variability on a one-week timescale were due to changes in δ, this would range between ∼7 and ∼21. If the variability were caused by changes in the viewing angle θ only, then θ would go from ∼2.6° to ∼5°. Variations in the viewing angle would also account for the dependence of the polarisation degree on the source brightness in the framework of a shock-in-jet model. © 2012 ESO.


Raiteri C.M.,National institute for astrophysics | Villata M.,National institute for astrophysics | Aller M.F.,University of Michigan | Gurwell M.A.,Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | And 74 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2011

Context. The blazar 3C 454.3 is one of the most active sources from the radio to the γ-ray frequencies observed in the past few years. Aims. We present multiwavelength observations of this source from April 2008 to March 2010. The radio to optical data are mostly from the GASP-WEBT, UV and X-ray data from Swift, and γ-ray data from the AGILE and Fermi satellites. The aim is to understand the connection among emissions at different frequencies and to derive information on the emitting jet. Methods. Light curves in 18 bands were carefully assembled to study flux variability correlations. We improved the calibration of optical-UV data from the UVOT and OM instruments and estimated the Lyα flux to disentangle the contributions from different components in this spectral region. Results. The observations reveal prominent variability above 8 GHz. In the optical-UV band, the variability amplitude decreases with increasing frequency due to a steadier radiation from both a broad line region and an accretion disc. The optical flux reaches nearly the same levels in the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 observing seasons; the mm one shows similar behaviour, whereas the γ and X-ray flux levels rise in the second period. Two prominent γ-ray flares in mid 2008 and late 2009 show a double-peaked structure, with a variable γ/optical flux ratio. The X-ray flux variations seem to follow the γ-ray and optical ones by about 0.5 and 1 d, respectively. Conclusions. We interpret the multifrequency behaviour in terms of an inhomogeneous curved jet, where synchrotron radiation of increasing wavelength is produced in progressively outer and wider jet regions, which can change their orientation in time. In particular, we assume that the long-term variability is due to this geometrical effect. By combining the optical and mm light curves to fit the γ and X-ray ones, we find that the γ (X-ray) emission may be explained by inverse-Comptonisation of synchrotron optical (IR) photons by their parent relativistic electrons (SSC process). A slight, variable misalignment between the synchrotron and Comptonisation zones would explain the increased γ and X-ray flux levels in 2009-2010, as well as the change in the γ/optical flux ratio during the outbursts peaks. The time delays of the X-ray flux changes after the γ, and optical ones are consistent with the proposed scenario. © 2011 ESO.


Raiteri C.M.,National institute for astrophysics | Villata M.,National institute for astrophysics | D'Ammando F.,University of Perugia | D'Ammando F.,National institute for astrophysics | And 86 more authors.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2013

Since the launch of the Fermi satellite, BL Lacertae has been moderately active at γ-rays and optical frequencies until 2011 May, when the source started a series of strong flares. The exceptional optical sampling achieved by the GLAST-AGILE Support Program of the Whole Earth Blazar Telescope in collaboration with the Steward Observatory allows us to perform a detailed comparison with the daily γ-ray observations by Fermi. Discrete correlation analysis between the optical and γ-ray emission reveals correlation with a time lag of 0 ± 1 d, which suggests cospatiality of the corresponding jet emitting regions. A better definition of the time lag is hindered by the daily gaps in the sampling of the extremely fast flux variations. In general, optical flares present more structure and develop on longer time-scales than corresponding γ-ray flares. Observations at X-rays and at millimetre wavelengths reveal a common trend, which suggests that the region producing the mm and X-ray radiation is located downstream from the optical and γ-ray-emitting zone in the jet. The mean optical degree of polarization slightly decreases over the considered period and in general it is higher when the flux is lower. The optical electric vector polarization angle (EVPA) shows a preferred orientation of about 15°, nearly aligned with the radio core EVPA and mean jet direction. Oscillations around it increase during the 2011-2012 outburst. We investigate the effects of a geometrical interpretation of the long-term flux variability on the polarization. A helical magnetic field model predicts an evolution of the mean polarization that is in reasonable agreement with the observations. These can be fully explained by introducing slight variations in the compression factor in a transverse shock waves model. © 2013 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.


Semkov E.H.,Bulgarian Academy of Science | Peneva S.P.,Bulgarian Academy of Science | Munari U.,National institute for astrophysics | Tsvetkov M.K.,Bulgarian Academy of Science | And 7 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2012

Aims. We present new results from optical photometric and spectroscopic observations of the eruptive pre-main sequence star V2493 Cyg (HBC 722). The object has continued to undergo significant brightness variations over the past few months and is an ideal target for follow-up observations. Methods. We carried out CCD BVRI photometric observations in the field of V2493 Cyg ("Gulf of Mexico") from August 1994 to April 2012, i.e. at the pre-outburst states and during the phases of the outburst. We acquired high, medium, and low resolution spectroscopy of V2493 Cyg during the outburst. To study the pre-outburst variability of the target and construct its historical light curve, we searched for archival observations in photographic plate collections. Both CCD and photographic observations were analyzed using 15 comparison stars in the field of V2493 Cyg. Results. The pre-outburst photographic and CCD photometric observations of V2493 Cyg show low-amplitude light variations typical of T Tauri stars. The recent photometric data show a slow light decrease from October 2010 to June 2011 followed by an increase in brightness that continued until early 2012. The spectral observations of V2493 Cyg are typical of FU Orionis stars absorption spectra with strong P Cyg profiles of Hα and Na I D lines. On the basis of photometric monitoring performed over the past two years, the spectral properties at the maximal light, as well as the shape of long-term light curves, we confirm that the observed outburst of V2493 Cyg is of FU Orionis type. © 2012 ESO.


Szkody P.,University of Washington | Mukadam A.,University of Washington | Gansicke B.T.,University of Warwick | Henden A.,American Association of Variable Star Observers | And 8 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2010

Time-resolved low resolution Hubble Space Telescope ultraviolet spectra together with ground-based optical photometry and spectra are used to constrain the temperatures and pulsation properties of six cataclysmic variables containing pulsating white dwarfs (WDs). Combining our temperature determinations for the five pulsating WDs that are several years past outburst with past results on six other systems shows that the instability strip for accreting pulsating WDs ranges from 10,500 to 15,000K, a wider range than evident for ZZ Ceti pulsators. Analysis of the UV/optical pulsation properties reveals some puzzling aspects. While half the systems show high pulsation amplitudes in the UV compared to their optical counterparts, others show UV/optical amplitude ratios that are less than one or no pulsations at either wavelength region. © 2010. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Vercellone S.,Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica | Striani E.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Vittorini V.,Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica | Donnarumma I.,Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica | And 91 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2011

Since 2005, the blazar 3C 454.3 has shown remarkable flaring activity at all frequencies, and during the last four years it has exhibited more than one γ-ray flare per year, becoming the most active γ-ray blazar in the sky. We present for the first time the multi-wavelength AGILE, Swift, INTEGRAL, and GASP-WEBT data collected in order to explain the extraordinary γ-ray flare of 3C 454.3 which occurred in 2010 November. On 2010 November 20 (MJD 55520), 3C 454.3 reached a peak flux (E >100MeV) of Fp γ = (6.8 ± 1.0) × 10-5photons cm -2 s-1 on a timescale of about 12 hr, more than a factor of six higher than the flux of the brightest steady γ-ray source, the Vela pulsar, and more than a factor of three brighter than its previous super-flare on 2009 December 2-3. The multi-wavelength data make possible a thorough study of the present event: the comparison with the previous outbursts indicates a close similarity to the one that occurred in 2009. By comparing the broadband emission before, during, and after the γ-ray flare, we find that the radio, optical, and X-ray emission varies within a factor of 2-3, whereas the γ-ray flux by a factor of 10. This remarkable behavior is modeled by an external Compton component driven by a substantial local enhancement of soft seed photons. © 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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