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Variability and stability in optical blazar jets: the case of OJ287  [PDF]
C. Villforth,K. Nilsson,J. Heidt,T. Pursimo
Physics , 2010,
Abstract: OJ287 is a BL Lac object at redshift z=0.306 that has shown double-peaked bursts at regular intervals of ~12 yr during the last ~ 40 yr. Due to this behavior, it has been suggested that OJ287 might host a close supermassive binary black hole. We present optical photopolarimetric monitoring data from 2005-2009, during which the latest double-peaked outburst occurred. We find a stable component in the optical jet: the optical polarization core. The optical polarization indicates that the magnetic field is oriented parallel to the jet. Using historical optical polarization data, we trace the evolution of the optical polarization core and find that it has showed a swing in the Stokes plane indicating a reorientation of the jet magnetic field. We also find that changes in the optical jet magnetic field seem tightly related to the double-peaked bursts. We use our findings as a new constraint on possible binary black hole models. Combining all available observations, we find that none of the proposed binary black bole models is able to fully explain the observations. We suggest a new approach to understanding OJ287 that is based on the assumption that changes in the jet magnetic field drive the regular outbursts.
The infrared and optical variability of OJ 287  [PDF]
J. H. Fan,G. Adam,G. Z. Xie,S. L. Cao,R. G. Lin,Y. P. Qin,Y. Copin,J. M. Bai,X. Zhang,K. H. Li
Physics , 1998, DOI: 10.1051/aas:1998314
Abstract: In this paper, the long-term historical optical (UBVRI) and near-infrared (JHK) data are presented with some new observations in the optical (February 1994-January 1995) and near-infrared (November 1995) bands included for BL Lac object OJ287. The new optical data in V-band are in agreement with the results reported by other authors (Sillanpaa et al. 1996a; Arimoto et al. 1997), a close correlation between the color index of B-V and the magnitude V has been obtained from our new observations; The new infrared observations presented here indicate that the source was at a high level in the infrared band during the observation period; From the available literature, we have got that the largest variations for UBVRIJHK bands are respectively: 4.72mag, 5.93mag, 5.18mag, 4.45mag, 4.07mag, 3.87mag, 3.78mag, and 3.54mag. A strong correlation is found between the optical and near-infrared bands when the DCF method is used, which suggests that these two bands have the same emission mechanism.
OJ 287 binary black hole system  [PDF]
Mauri Valtonen,Stefano Ciprini
Physics , 2011,
Abstract: The light curve of the quasar OJ 287 extends from 1891 up today without major gaps. Here we summarize the results of the 2005 - 2010 observing campaign. The main results are the following: (1) The 2005 October optical outburst came at the expected time, thus confirming the general relativistic precession in the binary black hole system. This result disproved the model of a single black hole system with accretion disk oscillations, as well as several toy models of binaries without relativistic precession. In the latter models the main outburst would have been a year later. (2) The nature of the radiation of the 2005 October outburst was expected to be bremsstrahlung from hot gas at the temperature of $3\times 10^{5}$ $^{\circ}$K. This was confirmed by combined ground based and ultraviolet observations using the XMM-Newton X-ray telescope. (3) A secondary outburst of the same nature was expected at 2007 September 13. Within the accuracy of observations (about 6 hours), it started at the correct time. Thus the prediction was accurate at the same level as the prediction of the return of Halley's comet in 1986. (4) Further synchrotron outbursts were expected following the two bremsstrahlung outbursts. They came as scheduled between 2007 October and 2009 December. (5) Due to the effect of the secondary on the overall direction of the jet, the parsec scale jet was expected to rotate in the sky by a large angle around and after 2009. This rotation may have been seen at high frequency radio observations. OJ 287 binary black hole system is currently our best laboratory for testing theories of gravitation. Using OJ 287, the correctness of General Relativity has now been demonstrated at higher order than has been possible using the binary pulsars.
Gravitational-Wave by Binary OJ287 in 3.5 PN Approximation  [PDF]
Y. Zhang,S. G. Wu,W. Zhao
Physics , 2013,
Abstract: We compute the gravitational radiation of the supermassive binary black hole OJ287. By fitting the data of its recent seven outbursts, we obtain the orbital motion up to 3.5PN (Post-Newtonian) order, the energy and angular momentum fluxes and the waveform up to the 2PN. It is found that the 1PN term of the energy flux, has an opposite sign to the Newtonian flux, and the 2PN term has an opposite sign to the 1PN one. The same pattern is also found for the angular momentum fluxes. The total flux is reduced by 30.8% on average from the Newtonian flux for OJ287, resulting in a smaller orbital decay rate than that of 2.5PN calculation. Consisting with this, it is checked that, in the sequence of non-dissipative PN forces, each term of $i^{th}$ order (dissipative or non-dissipative) has a sign opposite to the $(i-1)^{th}$ order. The origin of this characteristic is traced to the appearance of the non-diagonal metric component $g_{0i}$ in PN approximation. This feature will have profound impact on estimation of gravitational waves from binary systems.
Variability and stability in blazar jets on time scales of years: Optical polarization monitoring of OJ287 in 2005-2009  [PDF]
C. Villforth,K. Nilsson,J. Heidt,L. O. Takalo,T. Pursimo,A. Berdyugin,E. Lindfors,M. Pasanen,M. Winiarski,M. Drozdz,W. Ogloza,M. Kurpinska-Winiarska,M. Siwak,D. Koziel-Wierzbowska,C. Porowski,A. Kuzmicz,J. Krzesinski,T. Kundera,J. -H. Wu,X. Zhou,Y. Efimov,K. Sadakane,M. Kamada,J. Ohlert,V. -P. Hentunen,M. Nissinen,M. Dietrich,R. J. Assef,D. W. Atlee,J. Bird,D. L. DePoy,J. Eastman,M. S. Peeples,J. Prieto,L. Watson,J. C. Yee,A. Liakos,P. Niarchos,K. Gazeas,S. Dogru,A. Donmez,D. Marchev,S. A. Coggins-Hill,A. Mattingly,W. C. Keel,S. Haque,A. Aungwerojwit,N. Bergvall
Physics , 2009, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.16133.x
Abstract: (Abridged) OJ287 is a BL Lac object that has shown double-peaked bursts at regular intervals of ~12 yr during the last ~40 yr. We analyse optical photopolarimetric monitoring data from 2005-2009, during which the latest double-peaked outburst occurred. The aim of this study is twofold: firstly, we aim to analyse variability patterns and statistical properties of the optical polarization light-curve. We find a strong preferred position angle in optical polarization. The preferred position angle can be explained by separating the jet emission into two components: an optical polarization core and chaotic jet emission. The optical polarization core is stable on time scales of years and can be explained as emission from an underlying quiescent jet component. The chaotic jet emission sometimes exhibits a circular movement in the Stokes plane. We interpret these events as a shock front moving forwards and backwards in the jet, swiping through a helical magnetic field. Secondly, we use our data to assess different binary black hole models proposed to explain the regularly appearing double-peaked bursts in OJ287. We compose a list of requirements a model has to fulfil. The list includes not only characteristics of the light-curve but also other properties of OJ287, such as the black hole mass and restrictions on accretion flow properties. We rate all existing models using this list and conclude that none of the models is able to explain all observations. We discuss possible new explanations and propose a new approach to understanding OJ287. We suggest that both the double-peaked bursts and the evolution of the optical polarization position angle could be explained as a sign of resonant accretion of magnetic field lines, a 'magnetic breathing' of the disc.
Recurring flares from supermassive black hole binaries: implications for tidal disruption candidates and OJ 287  [PDF]
Takamitsu L. Tanaka
Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stt1164
Abstract: I discuss the possibility that accreting supermassive black hole (SMBH) binaries with sub-parsec separations produce periodically recurring luminous outbursts that interrupt periods of relative quiescence. This hypothesis is motivated by two characteristics found generically in simulations of binaries embedded in prograde accretion discs: (i) the formation of a central, low-density cavity around the binary, and (ii) the leakage of gas into this cavity, occurring once per orbit via discrete streams on nearly radial trajectories. The first feature would reduce the emergent optical/UV flux of the system relative to active galactic nuclei powered by single SMBHs, while the second can trigger quasiperiodic fluctuations in luminosity. I argue that the quasiperiodic accretion signature may be much more dramatic than previously thought, because the infalling gas streams can strongly shock-heat via self-collision and tidal compression, thereby enhancing viscous accretion. Any optically thick gas that is circularized about either SMBH can accrete before the next pair of streams is deposited, fueling transient, luminous flares that recur every orbit. Due to the diminished flux in between accretion episodes, such cavity-accretion flares could plausibly be mistaken for the tidal disruptions of stars in quiescent nuclei. The flares could be distinguished from tidal disruption events if their quasiperiodic recurrence is observed, or if they are produced by very massive SMBHs that cannot disrupt solar-type stars. They may be discovered serendipitously in surveys such as LSST or eROSITA. I present a heuristic toy model as a proof of concept for the production of cavity-accretion flares, and generate mock light curves and specta. I also apply the model to the active galaxy OJ 287, whose production of quasiperiodic pairs of optical flares has long fueled speculation that it hosts a SMBH binary.
Black hole mass and binary model for BL Lac object OJ 287  [PDF]
F. K. Liu,Xue-Bing Wu
Physics , 2002, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20020566
Abstract: Recent intensive observations of the BL Lac object OJ 287 raise a lot of questions on the models of binary black holes, processing jets, rotating helical jets and thermal instability of slim accretion disks. After carefully analyzing their radio flux and polarization data, Valtaoja et al. (\cite{valtaoja00}) propose a new binary model. Based on the black hole mass of $4 \times 10^8 {\rm M_\odot}$ estimated with the tight correlations of the black hole masses and the bulge luminosity or central velocity dispersion of host galaxies, we computed the physical parameters of the new binary scenario. The impact of the secondary on the accretion disk around the primary black hole causes strong shocks propagating inwards and outwards, whose arrival at the jet roots is identified with the rapid increase of optical polarization and the large change of polarization angle at about 0.30 yr after the first main optical flare. An increase of optical polarization, a large rotation of positional angle and a small synchrotron flare at 2007.05 between the optical outbursts at 2006.75 and 2007.89 are expected by the model. With the estimated parameters, we predicated an increase of $\gamma$-ray flux appearing about 5 days after the first optical/IR peak, which is consistent with the EGRET observations.
Synchronous Optical and Radio Polarization Variability in the Blazar OJ287  [PDF]
F. D. D'Arcangelo,A. P. Marscher,S. G. Jorstad,P. S. Smith,V. M. Larionov,V. A. Hagen-Thorn,G. G. Williams,W. K. Gear,D. P. Clemens,D. Sarcia,A. Grabau,E. V. Tollestrup,M. W. Buie,B. Taylor,E. Dunham
Physics , 2009, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/697/2/985
Abstract: We explore the variability and cross-frequency correlation of the flux density and polarization of the blazar OJ287, using imaging at 43 GHz with the Very Long Baseline Array, as well as optical and near-infrared polarimetry. The polarization and flux density in both the optical waveband and the 43 GHz compact core increased by a small amount in late 2005, and increased significantly along with the near-IR polarization and flux density over the course of 10 days in early 2006. Furthermore, the values of the electric vector position angle (EVPA) at the three wavebands are similar. At 43 GHz, the EVPA of the blazar core is perpendicular to the flow of the jet, while the EVPAs of emerging superluminal knots are aligned parallel to the jet axis. The core polarization is that expected if shear aligns the magnetic field at the boundary between flows of disparate velocities within the jet. Using variations in flux density, percentage polarization, and EVPA, we model the inner jet as a spine-sheath system. The model jet contains a turbulent spine of half-width 1.2 degrees and maximum Lorentz factor of 16.5, a turbulent sheath with Lorentz factor of 5, and a boundary region of sheared field between the spine and sheath. Transverse shocks propagating along the fast, turbulent spine can explain the superluminal knots. The observed flux density and polarization variations are then compatible with changes in the direction of the inner jet caused by a temporary change in the position of the core if the spine contains wiggles owing to an instability. In addition, we can explain a stable offset of optical and near-IR percentage polarization by a steepening of spectral index with frequency, as supported by the data.
Short time-scale periodicity in OJ 287  [PDF]
Pauli Pihajoki,Mauri Valtonen,Stefano Ciprini
Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stt1233
Abstract: We have studied short-term variations of the blazar OJ 287, suspected to host a supermassive black hole binary. In this study, we use a two-season optical R-band dataset from 2004--2006 which consists of 3991 data points from the OJ 287 observation campaign. It has sections of dense time coverage, and is largely independent from previously published data. We find that this data confirms the existence of a ~50 day periodic component, presumably related to the half-period of the innermost stable circular orbit (ISCO) of the primary black hole. In addition we find several pseudo-periodic components in the 1 to 7 day range, most prominently at 3.5 days, which are likely Lorentz contracted jet re-emission of the 50 day component. The typical 50 day cycle exhibits a slow rise of brightness and a rapid dimming before the start of the new cycle. We explain this as being due to a spiral wave in the accretion disc which feeds the central black hole in this manner.
Black hole binary OJ287 as a testing platform for general relativity  [PDF]
M. J. Valtonen,A. Gopakumar,S. Mikkola,K. Wiik,H. J. Lehto
Physics , 2012,
Abstract: The blazar OJ287 is the most promising (and the only) case for an extragalactic binary black hole system inspiralling under the action of gravitational radiation reaction. At present, though it is not possible to directly observe the binary components, it is possible to observe the jet emanating form the primary black hole. We argue that the orbital motion of the secondary black hole is reflected in the wobble of the jet and demonstrate that the wobble is orbital position dependent. The erratic wobble of the jet, reported in Agudo et al. (2012), is analyzed by taking into account the binary nature of the system and we find that the erratic component of jet wobble is very small.
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