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Astron. Astrophys. 352, 19-31 (1999)

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Optical and radio behaviour of the blazar S4 0954+65

C.M. Raiteri 1, M. Villata 1, G. Tosti 2, M. Fiorucci 2, G. Ghisellini 3, L.O. Takalo 4, A. Sillanpää 4, E. Valtaoja 4, H. Teräsranta 5, M. Tornikoski 5, M.F. Aller 6, H.D. Aller 6, G. De Francesco 1, P. Heinämäki 4, S. Katajainen 4, L. Lanteri 1, K. Nilsson 4, T. Pursimo 4, N. Rizzi 2 and G. Sobrito 1

1 Osservatorio Astronomico di Torino, Strada Osservatorio 20, 10025 Pino Torinese, Italy
2 Cattedra di Astrofisica, Università di Perugia, Via A. Pascoli, 06100 Perugia, Italy
3 Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Via Bianchi 46, 23807 Merate, Italy
4 Tuorla Observatory, 21500 Piikkiö, Finland
5 Metsähovi Radio Observatory, Metsähovintie 114, 02540 Kylmälä, Finland
6 Department of Astronomy, Dennison Bldg., U. Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

Received 21 December 1998 / Accepted 6 October 1999

Abstract

We present the results of an intensive optical and radio monitoring of the [FORMULA]-loud blazar S4 0954+65 from November 1994 to May 1998. The optical observations were done at the Torino, Perugia, and Tuorla Astronomical Observatories; in this period, including two pointings by the Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope (EGRET), the source was very active and reached its historical maximum. Intranight variability was checked during several nights, giving a positive answer. Colour-index variations were also detected, but no definite trend with brightness can be recognized. The radio light curves at 22 and 37 GHz from the Metsähovi Radio Observatory and those at 4.8 and 14.5 GHz from the University of Michigan Radio Astronomy Observatory (UMRAO) are not well sampled; however, two interesting fast-variability events are present, from which brightness temperatures exceeding the Compton limit by several orders of magnitude can be calculated. A comparison of the optical data with the radio ones does not lead to meaningful results because of the poor radio sampling. Finally, we analyse the spectral energy distributions (SEDs) from the radio to the optical band using contemporaneous radio and optical data taken during two different optical states, with a low radio flux corresponding to the high optical state and vice versa. We first fit these SEDs by means of a helical-jet model, which suggests that the observed large, long-term variations can be due to changes of the jet orientation with respect to the line of sight. Then we fit the same SEDs with a homogeneous model, which can account for the high-energy part of the SED, stressing that external soft photons in addition to the local ones are required to explain the [FORMULA]-ray data.

Key words: galaxies: active – galaxies: BL Lacertae objects: general – galaxies: BL Lacertae objects: individual: S4 0954+65 – galaxies: jets

Send offprint requests to: C.M. Raiteri

Correspondence to: raiteri@to.astro.it

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: November 23, 1999
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