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SMARTS Optical & Infrared Monitoring of Blazar OJ 287

ATel #8777; MacPherson, E. (Yale); Isler, Jedidah C. (Vanderbilt); Urry, M., Coppi, P., Bailyn, C. (Yale)
on 5 Mar 2016; 19:43 UT
Credential Certification: Jedidah Isler (jedidah.isler@vanderbilt.edu)

Subjects: Infra-Red, Optical, AGN, Blazar

Referred to by ATel #: 8806

As part of our SMARTS Optical and Infrared (O/IR) Blazar Monitoring program, we observe gamma-ray-bright blazars with the SMARTS 1.3m+ANDICAM instrument in Cerro Tololo, Chile (CTIO). This instrument is a permanently-mounted, dual-channel imager providing simultaneous detections in the optical and near-infrared.

According to reports by several teams, OJ 287 has shown flaring activity over the past month (ATel #8667, ATel #8697, ATel #8705, ATel #8768).

SMARTS has been monitoring OJ 287 (BL Lac, redshift z=0.306, Falomo, Scarpa, & Bersanelli 1994, ApJS, 93, 125; Sitko & Junkkarinen 1985, PASP, 97, 1158) since 2008 February. Here, we report increasing O/IR brightness over the past week and confirm that the source decreased again in brightness ahead of our latest detection on UT 2016 March 05. Note that peak values approached those reported for UT 2015 December 05 by SMARTS (ATel #8382) and others - shown for comparison in the magnitude table below.

We estimate our errors to be +/- 0.03 mag in the optical, +/- 0.05 mag in the IR.

UT Date JD B V R J K
20151205 2457361.84970 13.96 13.46 12.90 11.90 10.21
20160201 2457419.73729 16.30 15.78 15.21 14.07 12.60
20160211 2457429.72804 14.59 14.12 13.58 12.59 10.70
20160225 2457443.64581 15.05 14.51 13.95 12.81 11.03
20160304 2457451.65082 14.08 13.61 13.10 12.11 10.37
20160305 2457452.64387 14.48 14.00 13.46 12.44 10.67

Additional data points between local minima/maxima are available on our website. Additional multi-wavelength observations are encouraged. We will continue to monitor this source on a nightly cadence.

See the full SMARTS O/IR light curve
Use SMARTScienceTools interactive software (beta version) to visualize the data
(Apply for time on ANDICAM in 2016B)

SMARTS Optical/IR Observations of Fermi Blazars