Journal Article

The nature of the intra-night optical variability in blazars

R. Bachev, E. Semkov, A. Strigachev, Alok C. Gupta, Haritma Gaur, B. Mihov, S. Boeva and L. Slavcheva-Mihova

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 424, issue 4, pages 2625-2634
Published in print August 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online August 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.21310.x
The nature of the intra-night optical variability in blazars

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ABSTRACT

In this paper we present the results of a short-term optical monitoring program of 13 blazars. The objects were monitored mostly in the R band for a total of ∼160 h between 2006 and 2011. We study the nature of the short-term variations and show that most of them could be described as slow, smooth and (almost) linear changes of up to ∼0.1 mag h−1, but that many objects show no short-term variations at all. In fact, we found only a ∼2 per cent chance of observing variability of more than 0.1 mag h−1 for the sample we observed. Hints of quasi-periodic oscillations at very low-amplitude levels are also found for some objects. We briefly discuss some of the possible mechanisms for generating the intra-night variability and the quasi-periodic oscillations.

Keywords: BL Lacertae objects: general

Journal Article.  6513 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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