The June 2016 Optical and Gamma-Ray Outburst and Optical Micro-Variability of the Blazar 3C454.3

11 Mar 2019  ·  Weaver Zachary R., Balonek Thomas J., Jorstad Svetlana G., Marscher Alan P., Larionov Valeri M., Smith Paul S., Boni Samantha J., Borman George A., Chapman K. J., Jenks Leah G., Kopatskaya Evgenia N., Larionova Elena G., Morozova Daria A., Nikiforova Anna A., Sabyr Alina, Savchenko Sergey S., Stahlin Ryan W., Troitskaya Yulia V., Troitsky Ivan S., Zhang Saiyang ·

The quasar 3C454.3 underwent a uniquely-structured multi-frequency outburst in June 2016. The blazar was observed in the optical $R$ band by several ground-based telescopes in photometric and polarimetric modes, at $\gamma$-ray frequencies by the \emph{Fermi}\ Large Area Telescope, and at 43 GHz with the Very Long Baseline Array... The maximum flux density was observed on 2016 June 24 at both optical and $\gamma$-ray frequencies, reaching $S^\mathrm{max}_\mathrm{opt}=18.91\pm0.08$ mJy and $S_\gamma^\mathrm{max} =22.20\pm0.18\times10^{-6}$ ph cm$^{-2}$ s$^{-1}$, respectively. The June 2016 outburst possessed a precipitous decay at both $\gamma$-ray and optical frequencies, with the source decreasing in flux density by a factor of 4 over a 24-hour period in $R$ band. Intraday variability was observed throughout the outburst, with flux density changes between 1 and 5 mJy over the course of a night. The precipitous decay featured statistically significant quasi-periodic micro-variability oscillations with an amplitude of $\sim 2$-$3\%$ about the mean trend and a characteristic period of 36 minutes. The optical degree of polarization jumped from $\sim3\%$ to nearly 20\% during the outburst, while the position angle varied by $\sim120\degr$. A knot was ejected from the 43 GHz core on 2016 Feb 25, moving at an apparent speed $v_\mathrm{app}=20.3c\pm0.8c$. From the observed minimum timescale of variability $\tau_\mathrm{opt}^\mathrm{min}\approx2$ hr and derived Doppler factor $\delta=22.6$, we find a size of the emission region $r\lesssim2.6\times10^{15}$ cm. If the quasi-periodic micro-variability oscillations are caused by periodic variations of the Doppler factor of emission from a turbulent vortex, we derive a rotational speed of the vortex $\sim0.2c$. read more

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena Astrophysics of Galaxies