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Photopolarimetry of BL Lac

Abstract

This paper presents results of our monitoring of BL Lac at the 2.56 m Nordic Optical Telescope in La Palma and at the 0.91 m telescope at National Astronomical Observatory in Dodaira, Japan. On La Palma we used aUBVRI-photopolarimeter which gives truly simultaneous observations in all five colour bands. At Dodaira we used a photopolarimeter which gives simultaneously photometry atB, V andR-bands and polarimetry atV-band. We have observations of BL Lac during flare behaviour and during these times we have observed a clear rotation of the polarization position angle. During these flares the polarization level has also been strongly variable and the object has lost its preferred direction of the polarization position angle. The reason for this behaviour remains still unclear, but there are two possible explanations: shocks in the helical magnetic field in the jet pointing nearly towards us or polarized synchrotron flares rotating within the accretion disk (seen nearly face on) of the supermassive central black hole.

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Sillanpää, A., Takalo, L.O., Nilsson, K. et al. Photopolarimetry of BL Lac. Astrophys Space Sci 206, 55–70 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00658383

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Keywords

  • Colour
  • Magnetic Field
  • Black Hole
  • Flare
  • Accretion Disk