Optical microvariability of EGRET blazars*
Instituto Argentino de Radioastronomía, C.C.5, (1894) Villa Elisa, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2 Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas, UNLP, Paseo del Bosque, 1900 La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Corresponding author: S. A. Cellone, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 13 May 2002
We present results of a photometric CCD study of the incidence of microvariability in the optical emission of a sample of 20 blazars detected at gamma-ray energies by the EGRET instrument of the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory. We have observed strong outbursts in some sources, but many others displayed no significant variability on timescales of hours. The typical minimum timescale is found to be of ~several hours, not tens of minutes as claimed by some authors. The duty cycle for optical intranight microvariations of gamma-ray blazars, as estimated from our observations, seems to be ~50%, lower than what is usually assumed. For night-to-night variations, instead, the duty cycle approaches that observed in radio-selected BL Lacs and flat-spectrum radio quasars (i.e. ~70%).
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: photometry / BL Lacertae objects: general / gamma-rays: observations
© ESO, 2002