EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 419, Number 1, May III 2004
Page(s) 25 - 34
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20034218

A&A 419, 25-34 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20034218

The continuum spectral features of blazars in the optical region

M. Fiorucci1, 2, 3, S. Ciprini1, 2 and G. Tosti1, 2

1  Astronomical Observatory and Physics Department, University of Perugia, via Pascoli, 06123 Perugia, Italy
2  INFN, Sezione di Perugia, via A. Pascoli, 06123 Perugia, Italy
3  INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Sede di Asiago, via Osservatorio 8, 36012 Asiago (VI), Italy

(Received 21 August 2003 / Accepted 29 December 2003)

Many quasi-simultaneous optical observations of 37 blazars were obtained at the Perugia University Observatory over the last ten years. In this paper we analyze the dereddened spectral flux distribution in the optical frequency range, and we compare our results with the overall spectral energy distribution (SED). The implications for existing models of the objects are briefly discussed. In particular, we show how the LBLs have a spectral slope $\alpha \simeq 1.5$, as expected from Synchrotron Self-Compton models, while the optical emission of HBLs and FSRQs is probably contaminated by other components. Moreover, we show evidence of how the spectral index vs. flux plot exhibits a characteristic loop-like pattern that is probably due to changes in the injection of accelerated particles.

Key words: galaxies: active -- galaxies: BL Lacertae objects: general -- galaxies: quasars: general

Offprint request: M. Fiorucci, Massimo.Fiorucci@pg.infn.it

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© ESO 2004