Multi-colour optical monitoring of eight red blazars
Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, 61-1 Whaam-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-348, Republic of Korea e-mail: email@example.com
2 Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 80 Nandan Road, Shanghai 200030, PR China
3 National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100012, PR China
4 Dept. of Astronomy and Space Science, Kyung Hee University, Kyunggi-do 446-701, Korea
Accepted: 15 December 2005
Context.We present the observational results of multi-colour optical monitoring of eight red blazars from 2003 September to 2004 February.Aims.The aim of our monitoring is to investigate the spectral variability as well as the flux variations at short and long time scales.Methods.The observations were carried out using the 1.0 m robotic telescope of Mt. Lemmon Optical Astronomy Observatory, in Arizona, USA, the 0.6 m telescope of Sobaeksan Optical Astronomy Observatory and the 1.8 m telescope of Bohyunsan Optical Astronomy Observatory, in the Republic of Korea.Results.During the observations, all sources show strong flux variations with amplitudes of larger than 0.5 mag. Variations with amplitudes of over 1 mag are found in four sources. Intraday variations with amplitudes larger than 0.15 mag, and a rapid brightness increase with a rate of ~0.2 mag per day in four days, are detected in S5 0716+71. We investigate the relationship between the colour index and source brightness for each source. We find that two out of three FSRQs tend to be redder when they are brighter, and, conversely, all BL Lac objects tend to be bluer. In particular, we find a significant anti-correlation between the colour index and R magnitude for 3C 454.3. This implies that the spectrum became steeper when the source was brighter, which is opposite to the common trend for blazars. In contrast, significant positive correlations are found in 3C 66A, S5 0716+71, and BL Lac. However, there are only very weak correlations for PKS 0735+17 and OJ 287.Conclusions.We propose that the different relative contributions of the thermal versus non-thermal radiation to the optical emission may be responsible for the different trends of the colour index with brightness in FSRQs and BL Lac objects.
© ESO, 2006