Understanding the Long-term Optical/Near-Infrared Color Variability in Fermi Blazars
We have undertaken a 7-year, multiwavelength program to observe a sample of blazars in various Fermi gamma-ray states, using the Small and Medium Aperture Research Telescope System (SMARTS) 1.3m + ANDICAM instrument in Cerro Tololo, Chile. We present near-daily optical and infrared (OIR) color variability diagrams of these sources and compare the OIR flux and color to the Fermi gamma-ray flux on similar cadence. We then analyze the color variability properties on short and long timescales, as compared to the length of an average gamma-ray flare, to better constrain the physical mechanisms responsible for the variability properties that we observe. From this long-term observational data, we develop a schematic representation of the possible color variability behaviors in blazars and how it is related to the thermal disk and non-thermal jet contributions in both Flat Spectrum Radio Quasars and BL Lac objects.
Date: Tuesday, 12 April 2016 Time: 15:30 Where: McGill University Ernest Rutherford Physics Building, R.E. Bell Conference Room (room 103) Contact: Robert Rutledge