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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.

Vercellone S.,Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica | D'Ammando F.,Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica | D'Ammando F.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Vittorini V.,Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica | And 136 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2010

We report on 18 months of multiwavelength observations of the blazar 3C 454.3 (Crazy Diamond) carried out in the period 2007 July-2009 January. In particular, we show the results of the AGILE campaigns which took place on 2008 May-June, 2008 July-August, and 2008 October-2009 January. During the 2008 May-2009 January period, the source average flux was highly variable, with a clear fading trend toward the end of the period, from an average γ-ray flux F E>100 MeV ≳ 200 × 10-8photonscm -2s-1 in 2008 May-June, to F E>100 MeV 80 × 10-8photonscm-2s-1 in 2008 October-2009 January. The average γ-ray spectrum between 100 MeV and 1 GeV can be fit by a simple power law, showing a moderate softening (from ΓGRID ∼ 2.0 to ΓGRID ∼ 2.2) toward the end of the observing campaign. Only 3σ upper limits can be derived in the 20-60 keV energy band with Super-AGILE, because the source was considerably off-axis during the whole time period. In 2007 July-August and 2008 May-June, 3C 454.3 was monitored by Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE). The RXTE/Proportional Counter Array (PCA) light curve in the 3-20 keV energy band shows variability correlated with the γ-ray one. The RXTE/PCA average flux during the two time periods is F 3-20 keV = 8.4 × 10-11ergcm-2s -1, and F 3-20 keV = 4.5 × 10 -11ergcm-2s-1, respectively, while the spectrum (a power law with photon index ΓPCA = 1.65 0.02) does not show any significant variability. Consistent results are obtained with the analysis of the RXTE/High-Energy X-Ray Timing Experiment quasi-simultaneous data. We also carried out simultaneous Swift observations during all AGILE campaigns. Swift/XRT detected 3C 454.3 with an observed flux in the 2-10 keV energy band in the range (0.9-7.5) × 10-11ergcm-2s-1 and a photon index in the range ΓXRT = 1.33-2.04. In the 15-150 keV energy band, when detected, the source has an average flux of about 5mCrab. GASP-WEBT monitored 3C 454.3 during the whole 2007-2008 period in the radio, millimeter, near-IR, and optical bands. The observations show an extremely variable behavior at all frequencies, with flux peaks almost simultaneous with those at higher energies. A correlation analysis between the optical and the γ-ray fluxes shows that the γ-optical correlation occurs with a time lag of τ = -0.4+0.6 -0.8 days, consistent with previous findings for this source. An analysis of 15 GHz and 43 GHz VLBI core radio flux observations in the period 2007 July-2009 February shows an increasing trend of the core radio flux, anti-correlated with the higher frequency data, allowing us to derive the value of the source magnetic field. Finally, the modeling of the broadband spectral energy distributions for the still unpublished data, and the behavior of the long-term light curves in different energy bands, allow us to compare the jet properties during different emission states, and to study the geometrical properties of the jet on a time-span longer than one year. © 2010. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Raiteri C.M.,National institute for astrophysics | Villata M.,National institute for astrophysics | Bruschini L.,University of Turin | Capetti A.,National institute for astrophysics | And 53 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2010

Aims. In a previous study we suggested that the broad-band emission and variability properties of BL Lacertae can be accounted for by a double synchrotron emission component with relatedinverse-Compton emission from the jet, plus thermal radiation from the accretion disc. Here we investigate the matter with further data extending over a wider energy range. Methods. The GLAST-AGILE Support Program (GASP) of the whole earth blazar telescope (WEBT) monitored BL Lacertae in 2008-2009 at radio, near-IR, and optical frequencies to follow its flux behaviour. During this period, high-energy observations were performed by XMM-Newton, Swift, and Fermi. We analyse these data with particular attention to the calibration of Swift UV data, and apply a helical jet model to interpret the source broad-band variability. Results. The GASP-WEBT observations show an optical flare in 2008 February-March, and oscillations of several tenths of mag on a few-day time scale afterwards. The radio flux is only mildly variable. The UV data from both XMM-Newton and Swift seem to confirm a UV excess that is likely caused by thermal emission from the accretion disc. The X-ray data from XMM-Newton indicate a strongly concave spectrum, as well as moderate (∼4-7%) flux variability on an hour time scale. The Swift X-ray data reveal fast (interday) flux changes, not correlated with those observed at lower energies. We compare the spectral energy distribution (SED) corresponding to the 2008 low-brightness state, which was characterised by a synchrotron dominance, to the 1997 outburst state, where the inverse-Compton emission was prevailing. A fit with an inhomogeneous helical jet model suggests that two synchrotron components are at work with their self inverse-Compton emission. Most likely, they represent the radiation from two distinct emitting regions in the jet. We show that the difference between the source SEDs in 2008 and 1997 can be explained in terms of pure geometrical variations. The outburst state occurred when the jet-emitting regions were better aligned with the line of sight, producing an increase of the Doppler beaming factor. Conclusions. Our analysis demonstrates that the jet geometry can play an extremely important role in the BL Lacertae flux and spectral variability. Indeed, the emitting jet is probably a bent and dynamic structure, and hence changes in the emitting regions viewing angles are likely to happen, with strong consequences on the source multiwavelength behaviour. © 2010 ESO.

Damasso M.,National institute for astrophysics | Biazzo K.,National institute for astrophysics | Bonomo A.S.,National institute for astrophysics | Desidera S.,National institute for astrophysics | And 67 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2015

Aims. XO-2 is the first confirmed wide stellar binary system where the almost twin components XO-2N and XO-2S have planets, and it is a peculiar laboratory in which to investigate the diversity of planetary systems. This stimulated a detailed characterization study of the stellar and planetary components based on new observations. Methods. We collected high-resolution spectra with the HARPS-N spectrograph and multi-band light curves. Spectral analysis led to an accurate determination of the stellar atmospheric parameters and characterization of the stellar activity, and high-precision radial velocities of XO-2N were measured. We collected 14 transit light curves of XO-2Nb used to improve the transit parameters. Photometry provided accurate magnitude differences between the stars and a measure of their rotation periods. Results. The iron abundance of XO-2N was found to be +0.054 dex greater, within more than 3σ, than that of XO-2S. The existence of a long-term variation in the radial velocities of XO-2N is confirmed, and we detected a turnover with respect to previous measurements. We suggest the presence of a second massive companion in an outer orbit or the stellar activity cycle as possible causes of the observed acceleration. The latter explanation seems more plausible with the present dataset. We obtained an accurate value of the projected spin-orbit angle for the XO-2N system (λ = 7° ± 11°), and estimated the real 3D spin-orbit angle (ψ =27+12 -27 degrees). We measured the XO-2 rotation periods, and found a value of P = 41.6 ± 1.1 days in the case of XO-2N, in excellent agreement with the predictions. The period of XO-2S appears shorter, with an ambiguity between 26 and 34.5 days that we cannot solve with the present dataset alone. The analysis of the stellar activity shows that XO-2N appears to be more active than the companion, perhaps because we sampled different phases of their activity cycle, or because of an interaction between XO-2N and its hot Jupiter that we could not confirm. © 2015 ESO.

Desidera S.,National institute for astrophysics | Bonomo A.S.,National institute for astrophysics | Claudi R.U.,National institute for astrophysics | Damasso M.,National institute for astrophysics | And 53 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2014

We performed an intensive radial velocity monitoring of XO-2S, the wide companion of the transiting planet-host XO-2N, using HARPS-N at TNG in the framework of the GAPS programme. The radial velocity measurements indicate the presence of a new planetary system formed by a planet that is slightly more massive than Jupiter at 0.48 au and a Saturn-mass planet at 0.13 au. Both planetary orbits are moderately eccentric and were found to be dynamically stable. There are also indications of a long-term trend in the radial velocities. This is the first confirmed case of a wide binary whose components both host planets, one of which is transiting, which makes the XO-2 system a unique laboratory for understanding the diversity of planetary systems. © ESO, 2014.

Tanga P.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Carry B.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Colas F.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Delbo M.,French National Center for Scientific Research | And 42 more authors.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2015

Asteroid (234) Barbara is the prototype of a category of asteroids that has been shown to be extremely rich in refractory inclusions, the oldest material ever found in the Solar system. It exhibits several peculiar features, most notably its polarimetric behaviour. In recent years other objects sharing the same property (collectively known as 'Barbarians') have been discovered. Interferometric observations in the mid-infrared with the ESO VLTI (Very Large Telescope Interferometer) suggested that (234) Barbara might have a bi-lobated shape or even a large companion satellite. We use a large set of 57 optical light curves acquired between 1979 and 2014, together with the timings of two stellar occultations in 2009, to determine the rotation period, spin-vector coordinates, and 3-D shape of (234) Barbara, using two different shape reconstruction algorithms. By using the light curves combined to the results obtained from stellar occultations, we are able to show that the shape of (234) Barbara exhibits large concave areas. Possible links of the shape to the polarimetric properties and the object evolution are discussed. We also show that VLTI data can be modelled without the presence of a satellite. © 2015 The Author Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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