EDP Sciences
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Volume 387, Number 1, May III 2002
Page(s) 40 - 55
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20020343

A&A 387, 40-55 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20020343

UBVRI simultaneous observations of the nucleus of Seyfert galaxy NGC 5548 in 1993-1999

N. I. Merkulova

Crimean Astrophysical Observatory, Crimea, Ukraine; and Isaac Newton Institute of Chile, Crimean Branch, 98409, p/o Nauchny, Crimea, Ukraine

(Received 11 May 2000 / Accepted 20 February 2002 )

An ongoing program on photometric and spectral monitoring of some bright Seyfert galaxies has been carried out at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory since 1989. Results of photometric observations of NGC 5548 obtained with the 1.25 m telescope are reported in this paper; it focuses on the analysis of intranight variations. During 44 observational nights in 1993-1999 in each spectral band of the Johnson UBVRI system, 672 measurements have been performed simultaneously through the round aperture (diameter 15´´) using differential photometry techniques. The estimated accuracy of each measurement is about 0.01 mag. The peak amplitude $R_{\rm
max} = F_{\max}/F_{\min} = 2.99$ for the whole light curve was observed in the U band, while the minimum amplitude $F_{\max}/F_{\min}=1.37$ occurred in the I band during the full observation period. UBVRI observations and good sampled data of international monitoring campaigns of NGC 5548 , were used to calculate Structure Functions. A comparison is made of the characteristics of the long and short time scale variations of NGC 5548 with those of NGC 4151 , NGC 7469 and NGC 1275 . In order to examine the intranight variations of the nucleus of NGC 5548 , standard deviations (SD) of the nightly averaged flux F, and a measure of intranight variability - SD/F were calculated for each night. Using this parameter, a probability characteristics is introduced, and duty cycles (the fraction of time when the galaxy is variable), characterizing the efficiency of the central energy source, were evaluated. It is concluded that intranight variability is really transient in character and manifests itself with different probabilities for different galaxies.

Key words: galaxies: Seyfert: photometry -- galaxies: individual: NGC 5548

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