Volume 611, March 2018
|Number of page(s)||18|
|Section||Celestial mechanics and astrometry|
|Published online||23 March 2018|
Variability of extragalactic sources: its contribution to the link between ICRF and the future Gaia Celestial Reference Frame★
Observatoire de Paris – SYRTE, PSL Research University, CNRS/UMR 8630, Sorbonne Universités, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, LNE,
61 avenue de l’Observatoire,
2 Astronomical Observatory, Volgina 7, 11060 Belgrade, Serbia
3 Observatório Nacional/MCT, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 20921-400, Brazil
4 Obervatorio do Valongo, UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 20080-090, Brazil
5 Université de Toulouse, UPS/OMP, IRAP, 75014 Toulouse, France
6 CNRS, IRAP, 14 avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
7 Observatoire de Paris – IMCCE, 75014 Paris, France
Accepted: 17 October 2017
Context. The first release of the Gaia catalog is available since 14 September 2016. It is a first step in the realization of the future Gaia reference frame. This reference frame will be materialized by the optical positions of the sources and will be compared with and linked to the International Celestial Reference Frame, materialized by the radio position of extragalactic sources.
Aim. As in the radio domain, it can be reasonably postulated that quasar optical flux variations can alert us to potential changes in the source structure. These changes could have important implications for the position of the target photocenters (together with the evolution in time of these centers) and in parallel have consequences for the link of the reference systems.
Methods. A set of nine optical telescopes was used to monitor the magnitude variations, often at the same time as Gaia, thanks to the Gaia Observation Forecast Tool. The Allan variances, which are statistical tools widely used in the atomic time and frequency community, are introduced.
Results. This work describes the magnitude variations of 47 targets that are suitable for the link between reference systems. We also report on some implications for the Gaia catalog. For 95% of the observed targets, new information about their variability is reported. In the case of some targets that are well observed by the TAROT telescopes, the Allan time variance shows that the longest averaging period of the magnitudes is in the range 20−70 d. The observation period by Gaia for a single target largely exceeds these values, which might be a problem when the magnitude variations exhibit flicker or random walk noises. Preliminary computations show that if the coordinates of the targets studied in this paper were affected by a white-phase noise with a formal uncertainty of about 1 mas (due to astrophysical processes that are put in evidence by the magnitude variations of the sources), it would affect the precision of the link at the level of 50 μas.
Key words: reference systems / quasars: general / galaxies: photometry / methods: data analysis
Full Table 3 is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (188.8.131.52) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/611/A52
© ESO 2018
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