Long and short term variability of seven blazars in six near-infrared/optical bands⋆
Università dell’Insubria, via Valleggio 11, 22100
2 INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, via Bianchi 46, 23807 Merate ( LC), Italy
3 Affiliated to INAF, INFN, ICRA
Received: 24 March 2013
Accepted: 19 July 2013
Context. We present the light curves of six BL Lac objects, PKS 0537-441, PKS 0735+17, OJ 287, PKS 2005-489, PKS 2155-304, and W Comae, and of the flat spectrum radio quasar PKS 1510-089, as a part of a photometric monitoring program in the near-infrared/optical bands started in 2004. All sources are Fermi blazars.
Aims. Our purpose is to investigate flux and spectral variability on short and long time scales. Systematic monitoring, independent of the activity of the source, guarantees large sample size statistics, and allows an unbiased view of different activity states on weekly or daily time scales for the whole timeframe and on nightly time scales for some epochs.
Methods. Data were obtained with the REM telescope located at the ESO premises of La Silla (Chile). Light curves were gathered in the optical/near-infrared VRIJHK bands from April 2005 to June 2012.
Results. Variability ≳3 mag is observed in PKS 0537-441, PKS 1510-089 and PKS 2155-304, the largest ranges spanned in the near-infrared. The color intensity plots show rather different morphologies. The spectral energy distributions in general are well fitted by a power law, with some deviations that are more apparent in low states. Some variability episodes during a night interval are well documented for PKS 0537-441 and PKS 2155-304. For the latter source the variability time scale implies a large relativistic beaming factor.
Key words: BL Lacertae objects: general / galaxies: photometry / galaxies: active
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