EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 409, Number 3, October III 2003
Page(s) 857 - 865
Section Galactic structure and dynamics
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20031178

A&A 409, 857-865 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20031178

Microvariability in the optical polarization of 3C 279

I. Andruchow1, S. A. Cellone2, G. E. Romero1, T. P. Dominici3 and Z. Abraham3

1  Instituto Argentino de Radioastronomía, CC5, (1894) Villa Elisa, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2  Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas UNLP, Paseo del Bosque, B1900FWA La Plata, Argentina
3  Departamento de Astronomia, Instituto de Astronomia, Geofísica e Ciências Atmosféricas, Universidade de São Paulo, Brasil

(Received 5 May 2003 / Accepted 9 July 2003)

We present results of a microvariability polarization study in the violently variable quasar 3C279. We have resolved the polarization curves in the V band for this object down to timescales of minutes. We found two main components in the evolution of the degree of linear polarization, one consisting of a flicker with timescales of several tens of minutes and other component with far more significant variations on timescales of a few days. The linear polarization descended from ~17% down to ~8% in three nights. The polarization angle underwent a sudden change of more that 10 degrees in a few hours, perhaps indicating the injection of a new shock in the jet. The amplitude of the intranight flickering in the degree of polarization is at the level of ~1%. These are probably the best sampled polarization data ever obtained for this object. We also performed IR observations and we provide a follow-up of the evolution of this source at such energies after the main polarization outburst.

Key words: galaxies: active -- galaxies: individual: 3C 279 -- polarization -- galaxies: photometry

Offprint request: I. Andruchow, andru@irma.iar.unlp.edu.ar

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