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Optical and IR flare of blazars 3C 454.3 and 3C 279

ATel #2155; M. Buxton, C. Bailyn, E. Bonning, P. Coppi, J. Isler, G. Muir, M. Urry (Yale Univ.), L. Maraschi (INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera) and G. Fossati (Rice Univ.)
on 10 Aug 2009; 18:08 UT
Credential Certification: Michelle Buxton (buxton@astro.yale.edu)

Subjects: Infra-Red, Optical, AGN, Black Hole

Referred to by ATel #: 2181, 2200, 2223, 3047

We are conducting a long-term monitoring campaign of the optical and near-IR magnitudes of gamma-ray bright blazars using the SMARTS 1.3m telescope and ANDICAM instrument. We report that optical and near infrared observations of 3C 454.3 and 3C 279 exhibit evidence of new flares, as reported in other wavelength regimes in ATel #2150 and ATel #2154 respectively. The change in magnitude of 3C 454.3 between UT 27 July 2009 and UT 04 August 2009 are as follows: dB = 0.17, dV = 0.16, dR = 0.17,dJ = 0.35, dK = 0.50. The change in magnitude of 3C 279 between UT 22 June 2009 and UT 30 July 2009 are as follows: dB = 0.72, dV = 0.54, dR = 1.82, dJ = 1.74, dK = 1.58. We note, however, that our most recent data of 3C2 279, taken on UT 04 Aug 2009 and 09 Aug 2009, indicate the flare has reached its peak and is now decreasing in brightness. We will continue to monitor these and other gamma-ray bright blazars on a near-daily basis. Our data up until the end of July 2009 are publicly available at http://www.astro.yale.edu/smarts/fermi Those interested in detailed light curves since August 1 are invited to contact the team.