results for au:Dhalla_S in:astro-ph
Here we report on the results of the WEBT photo-polarimetric campaign targeting the blazar S5~0716+71, organized in March 2014 to monitor the source simultaneously in BVRI and near IR filters. The campaign resulted in an unprecedented dataset spanning $\sim 110$\u2009h of nearly continuous, multi-band observations, including two sets of densely sampled polarimetric data mainly in R filter. During the campaign, the source displayed pronounced variability with peak-to-peak variations of about $30\%$ and "bluer-when-brighter" spectral evolution, consisting of a day-timescale modulation with superimposed hourlong microflares characterized by $\sim 0.1$\u2009mag flux changes. We performed an in-depth search for quasi-periodicities in the source light curve; hints for the presence of oscillations on timescales of $\sim 3$\u2009h and $\sim 5$\u2009h do not represent highly significant departures from a pure red-noise power spectrum. We observed that, at a certain configuration of the optical polarization angle relative to the positional angle of the innermost radio jet in the source, changes in the polarization degree led the total flux variability by about 2\u2009h; meanwhile, when the relative configuration of the polarization and jet angles altered, no such lag could be noted. The microflaring events, when analyzed as separate pulse emission components, were found to be characterized by a very high polarization degree ($> 30\%$) and polarization angles which differed substantially from the polarization angle of the underlying background component, or from the radio jet positional angle. We discuss the results in the general context of blazar emission and energy dissipation models.
The occurrence of low-amplitude flux variations in blazars on hourly timescales, commonly known as microvariability, is still a widely debated subject in high-energy astrophysics. Several competing scenarios have been proposed to explain such occurrences, including various jet plasma instabilities leading to the formation of shocks, magnetic reconnection sites, and turbulence. In this letter we present the results of our detailed investigation of a prominent, five-hour-long optical microflare detected during recent WEBT campaign in 2014, March 2-6 targeting the blazar 0716+714. After separating the flaring component from the underlying base emission continuum of the blazar, we find that the microflare is highly polarized, with the polarization degree $\sim (40-60)\%$$\pm (2-10)\%$, and the electric vector position angle $\sim (10 - 20)$deg$\pm (1-8)$deg slightly misaligned with respect to the position angle of the radio jet. The microflare evolution in the $(Q,\,U)$ Stokes parameter space exhibits a looping behavior with a counter-clockwise rotation, meaning polarization degree decreasing with the flux (but higher in the flux decaying phase), and approximately stable polarization angle. The overall very high polarization degree of the flare, its symmetric flux rise and decay profiles, and also its structured evolution in the $Q-U$ plane, all imply that the observed flux variation corresponds to a single emission region characterized by a highly ordered magnetic field. As discussed in the paper, a small-scale but strong shock propagating within the outflow, and compressing a disordered magnetic field component, provides a natural, though not unique, interpretation of our findings.
Context. The international whole earth blazar telescope (WEBT) consortium planned and carried out three days of intensive micro-variability observations of S5 0716+714 from February 22, 2009 to February 25, 2009. This object was chosen due to its bright apparent magnitude range, its high declination, and its very large duty cycle for micro-variations. Aims. We report here on the long continuous optical micro-variability light curve of 0716+714 obtained during the multi-site observing campaign during which the Blazar showed almost constant variability over a 0.5 magnitude range. The resulting light curve is presented here for the first time. Observations from participating observatories were corrected for instrumental diff?erences and combined to construct the overall smoothed light curve. Methods. Thirty-six observatories in sixteen countries participated in this continuous monitoring program and twenty of them submitted data for compilation into a continuous light curve. The light curve was analyzed using several techniques including Fourier transform, Wavelet and noise analysis techniques. Those results led us to model the light curve by attributing the variations to a series of synchrotron pulses. Results. We have interpreted the observed microvariations in this extended light curve in terms of a new model consisting of individual stochastic pulses due to cells in a turbulent jet which are energized by a passing shock and cool by means of synchrotron emission. We obtained an excellent fit to the 72-hour light curve with the synchrotron pulse model.