D. A. Morozova

Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (39)61.54 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present $\gamma$-ray, X-ray, ultraviolet, optical, and near-infrared light curves of 33 $\gamma$-ray bright blazars over four years that we have been monitoring since 2008 August with multiple optical, ground-based telescopes and the Swift satellite, and augmented by data from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and other publicly available data from Swift. The sample consists of 21 flat-spectrum radio quasars (FSRQs) and 12 BL Lac objects (BL Lacs). We identify quiescent and active states of the sources based on their $\gamma$-ray behavior. We derive $\gamma$-ray, X-ray, and optical spectral indices, $\alpha_\gamma$, $\alpha_X$, and $\alpha_o$, respectively ($F_\nu\propto\nu^\alpha$), and construct spectral energy distributions (SEDs) during quiescent and active states. We analyze the relationships between different spectral indices, blazar classes, and activity states. We find (i) significantly steeper $\gamma$-ray spectra of FSRQs than for BL Lacs during quiescent states, but a flattening of the spectra for FSRQs during active states while the BL Lacs show no significant change; (ii) a small difference of $\alpha_X$ within each class between states, with BL Lac X-ray spectra significantly steeper than in FSRQs; (iii) a highly peaked distribution of X-ray spectral slopes of FSRQs at $\sim-$0.60, but a very broad distribution of $\alpha_X$ of BL Lacs during active states; (iv) flattening of the optical spectra of FSRQs during quiescent states, but no statistically significant change of $\alpha_o$ of BL Lacs between states; and (v) a positive correlation between optical and $\gamma$-ray spectral slopes of BL Lacs, with similar values of the slopes. We discuss the findings with respect to the relative prominence of different components of high-energy and optical emission as the flux state changes.
    06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of optical (R band) photometric and polarimetric monitoring and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) imaging of the blazar S4 0954+658, along with Fermi and gamma;-ray data during a multi-waveband outburst in 2011 March-April. After a faint state with a brightness level R ~17.6 mag registered in the first half of January 2011, the optical brightness of the source started to rise and reached ~14.8 mag during the middle of March, showing flare-like behavior. The most spectacular case of intranight variability was observed during the night of 2011 March 9, when the blazar brightened by ~0.7 mag within ~7 hours. During the rise of the flux the position angle of optical polarization rotated smoothly over more than 300$\deg$. At the same time, within 1$\sigma$ uncertainty a new superluminal knot appeared with an apparent speed of 19.0$\pm$0.3 c. We have very strong evidence for association of this knot with the multi-waveband outburst in 2011 March-April. We also analyze the multi-frequency behavior of S4 0954+658 during a number of minor outbursts from August 2008 to April 2012. We find some evidence of connections between at least two more superluminal ejecta and near-simultaneous optical flares.
    The Astronomical Journal 06/2014; 148(3). · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the ongoing outburst of the young variable V1180 Cas, which is known to display characteristics in common with EXor eruptive variables. We present results that support the scenario of an accretion-driven nature of the brightness variations of the object and provide the first evidence of jet structures around the source. We monitored the recent flux variations of the target in the Rc, J, H, and K bands. New optical and near-IR spectra taken during the current high state of V1180 Cas are presented, in conjunction with H2 narrow-band imaging of the source. Observed near-IR colour variations are analogous to those observed in EXors and consistent with excess emission originating from an accretion event. The spectra show numerous emission lines, which indicates accretion, ejection of matter, and an active disc. Using optical and near-IR emission features we derive a mass accretion rate of ~3 E-8 Msun/yr, which is an order of magnitude lower than previous estimates. In addition, a mass loss rate of ~4 E-9 and ~4 E-10 Msun/yr are estimated from atomic forbidden lines and H2, respectively. Our H2 imaging reveals two bright knots of emission around the source and the nearby optically invisible star V1180 Cas B, clearly indicative of mass-loss phenomena. Higher resolution observations of the detected jet will help to clarify whether V1180 Cas is the driving source and to determine the relation between the observed knots.
    05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We perform optical photometric and polarimetric monitoring of flat spectrum radio quasar (FSRQ) PKS 1222+21 (4C 21.35, z=0.432) using 16" LX-200 telescope (St.Petersburg, Russia) and 70-cm AZT-8 (Crimea, Ukraine). During last month this quasar displays prominent activity. In the nights of 2014 February 24 and 25 it reached a level of R=13.86 and 13.80, correspondingly. These values can be compared to the quiescence level of R~15.7 recorded in 2012-2013.
    01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Among more than fifty blazars detected in very high energy (VHE, E>100GeV) gamma-rays, only three belong to the subclass of Flat Spectrum Radio Quasars (FSRQs). MAGIC observed FSRQ PKS 1510-089 in February-April 2012 during a high activity state in the high energy (HE, E>100 MeV) gamma-ray band observed by AGILE and Fermi. MAGIC observations result in the detection of a source with significance of 6.0 sigma. In agreement with the previous VHE observations of the source, we find no statistically significant variability during the MAGIC observations in daily, weekly or monthly time scales. The other two known VHE FSRQs have shown daily scale to sub-hour variability. We study the multifrequency behaviour of the source at the epoch of MAGIC observation, collecting quasi-simultaneous data at radio and optical (GASP-WEBT and F-Gamma collaborations, REM, Steward, Perkins, Liverpool, OVRO and VLBA telescopes), X-ray (Swift satellite) and HE gamma-ray frequencies. The gamma-ray SED combining AGILE, Fermi and MAGIC data joins smoothly and shows no hint of a break. The multifrequency light curves suggest a common origin for the millimeter radio and HE gamma-ray emission and the HE gamma-ray flaring starts when the new component is ejected from the 43GHz VLBA core. The quasi-simultaneous multifrequency SED is modelled with a one-zone inverse Compton model. We study two different origins of the seed photons for the inverse Compton scattering, namely the infra-red torus and a slow sheath surrounding the jet around the VLBA core. Both models fit the data well. However, the fast HE gamma-ray variability requires that within the modelled large emitting region, there must exist more compact regions. We suggest that these observed signatures would be most naturally explained by a turbulent plasma flowing at a relativistic speed down the jet and crossing a standing conical shock.
    01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We analyze total and polarized intensity images of the quasar PKS 0420-014 obtained monthly with the VLBA at 43 GHz during 2008-2012 along with γ-ray data provided by the Fermi Large Area Telescope and multi-color photometric and polarimetric measurements collected by different optical telescopes. During this period the quasar underwent a number of optical flares, which were accompanied by rapid rotation of polarization angle, an increase of activity in γ-rays, and the appearance of new superluminal knots in the parsec-scale jet. We investigate the fine structure of the flares at different wavelengths and in polarized light, and determine kinematic parameters of the knots. We compare the rapid evolution of the optical polarization with the polarization of the VLBI core and knots. We interpret the multi-wavelength behavior within a model that places the blazar "dissipation zone" at the millimeter-wave core of the parsec-scale jet.
    12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: After a few years of quiescence, the blazar CTA 102 underwent a large outburst in the fall of 2012. The flare has been tracked from γ-rays to near-infrared, including Fermi and Swift data as well as polarimetric data from several observatories. An intensive GASP-WEBT collaboration campaign in optical and NIR bands, with the addition of previously unpublished archival data, allows comparison of this outburst with the previous activity period of this blazar in the early 2000s. We find remarkable similarity between the optical and γ-ray behavior of CTA 102 during the outburst, without any time lag between the two light curves, indicating co-spatiality of the optical and γ-ray emission regions. A strong harder-when-brighter spectral dependence is seen both in γ-rays and optical. The polarimetric behavior of CTA 102 during the outburst conforms with a shock-in-jet interpretation.
    12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The Fermi LAT detected an increase in γ-ray activity of the quasar 0836+710 (z=2.17) in Spring 2011 that culminated in a sharp γ-ray flare at the end of 2011 when the source reached a flux of 2.9×10-6 phot s-1cm-2 at 0.1-200 GeV. We monitor the quasar at optical wavelengths in photometric and polarimetric modes, at millimeter and centimeter wavelengths, and with the VLBA at 43 GHz. The optical brightness of the quasar increased by ~0.5 mag in R band and the degree of polarization oscillated between ~1% and ~6% during the highest γ-ray state, while the position angle of polarization rotated by ~300°. We have identified in the VLBA images a strong, highly polarized component that moves with an apparent speed of ~20 c. The component emerged from the core in the beginning of the γ-ray event and reached a flux maximum at the peak of the γ-ray outburst. We present the results of a correlative analysis of variations at different wavelengths along with the kinematic parameters of the parsec scale jet. We discuss the location of the high γ-ray emission in the relativistic jet, as well as the emission mechanisms responsible for γ-ray production.
    12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We present results of 4 years of VLBA monitoring along with γ-ray and optical R-band photometric observations of 6 BL Lac objects (3C 66A, S5 0716+71, PKS 0735+17, S4 0954+68, W Com, and OT 081). We have analyzed total intensity images obtained with the VLBA at 43 GHz and investigated the kinematic evolution of the parsec scale jets of the sources. For all sources we compare flux variations in the VLBI core and bright superluminal knots with γ-ray and optical light curves. The majority of γ-ray flares have optical counterparts. 67% of the γ-ray events are coincident with the appearance of new superluminal knots and/or flares in the millimeter-wave core. These results support the conclusion that for many flares in blazars the region of the γ-ray and optical emission is located in the vicinity or downstream of the mm-wave VLBI core.
    12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Since the launch of the Fermi satellite, BL Lacertae has been moderately active at γ-rays and optical frequencies until 2011 May, when the source started a series of strong flares. The exceptional optical sampling achieved by the GLAST-AGILE Support Program of the Whole Earth Blazar Telescope in collaboration with the Steward Observatory allows us to perform a detailed comparison with the daily γ-ray observations by Fermi. Discrete correlation analysis between the optical and γ-ray emission reveals correlation with a time lag of 0 ± 1 d, which suggests cospatiality of the corresponding jet emitting regions. A better definition of the time lag is hindered by the daily gaps in the sampling of the extremely fast flux variations. In general, optical flares present more structure and develop on longer time-scales than corresponding γ-ray flares. Observations at X-rays and at millimetre wavelengths reveal a common trend, which suggests that the region producing the mm and X-ray radiation is located downstream from the optical and γ-ray-emitting zone in the jet. The mean optical degree of polarization slightly decreases over the considered period and in general it is higher when the flux is lower. The optical electric vector polarization angle (EVPA) shows a preferred orientation of about 15°, nearly aligned with the radio core EVPA and mean jet direction. Oscillations around it increase during the 2011-2012 outburst. We investigate the effects of a geometrical interpretation of the long-term flux variability on the polarization. A helical magnetic field model predicts an evolution of the mean polarization that is in reasonable agreement with the observations. These can be fully explained by introducing slight variations in the compression factor in a transverse shock waves model.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 12/2013; 436(2):1530-1545. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Quasar 3C 279 is known to exhibit episodes of optical polarization angle rotation. We present new, well-sampled optical polarization data for 3C 279 and introduce a method to distinguish between random and deterministic electric vector position angle (EVPA) variations. We observe EVPA rotations in both directions with different amplitudes and find that the EVPA variation shows characteristics of both random and deterministic cases. Our analysis indicates that the EVPA variation is likely dominated by a random process in the low brightness state of the jet and by a deterministic process in the flaring state.
    11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: In addition to ATel#5411 and in reference to ATel#5412 and ATel#5418 we report that recently announced flare of the blazar 3C 454.3 seems to have culminated at 2013 September 25. Our optical (AZT-8, Crimea) and NIR (AZT-24, Campo Imperatore, Italy) photometric measurements taken this night yield, correspondingly, R=13.427 at JD2456561.336 and J=11.67 at JD2456561.259. Afterwards we see a clear decline (0.1 mag) in all bands.
    The Astronomer's Telegram. 09/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We analyze the multifrequency behavior of the quasar 3C 454.3 during three prominent \gamma-ray outbursts: 2009 Autumn, 2010 Spring, and 2010 Autumn. The data reveal a repeating pattern, including a triple flare structure, in the properties of each \gamma-ray outburst, which implies similar mechanism(s) and location for all three events. The multi-frequency behavior indicates that the lower frequency events are co-spatial with the \gamma-ray outbursts, although the \gamma-ray emission varies on the shortest timescales. We determine that the variability from UV to IR wavelengths during an outburst results from a single synchrotron component whose properties do not change significantly over the different outbursts. Despite a general increase in the degree of optical linear polarization during an outburst, the polarization drops significantly at the peak of the \gamma-ray event, which suggests that both shocks and turbulent processes are involved. We detect two disturbances (knots) with superluminal apparent speeds in the parsec-scale jet associated with the outbursts in 2009 Autumn and 2010 Autumn. The kinematic properties of the knots can explain the difference in amplitudes of the \gamma-ray events, while their millimeter-wave polarization is related to the optical polarization during the outbursts. We interpret the multi-frequency behavior within models involving either a system of standing conical shocks or magnetic reconnection events located in the parsec-scale millimeter-wave core of the jet. We argue that \gamma-ray outbursts with variability timescales as short as ~ 3 hr can occur on parsec scales if flares take place in localized regions such as turbulent cells.
    07/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of optical (R band) photometric and polarimetric monitoring and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) imaging of the blazar S5 0716+714 along with Fermi gamma-ray data during a multi-waveband outburst in 2011 October. We analyze total and polarized intensity images of the blazar obtained with the VLBA at 43 GHz during and after the outburst. Monotonic rotation of the linear polarization vector at a rate of >50 degrees per night coincided with a sharp maximum in gamma-ray and optical flux. At the same time, within the uncertainties, a new superluminal knot appeared, with an apparent speed of ~21c. The general multi-frequency behavior of the outburst can be explained within the framework of a shock wave propagating along a helical path in the blazar's jet.
    The Astrophysical Journal 03/2013; 768(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The quasar-type blazar 4C 38.41 (B3 1633+382) experienced a large outburst in 2011, which was detected throughout the entire electromagnetic spectrum. We present the results of low-energy multifrequency monitoring by the GASP project of the WEBT consortium and collaborators, as well as those of spectropolarimetric/spectrophotometric monitoring at the Steward Observatory. We also analyse high-energy observations of the Swift and Fermi satellites. In the optical-UV band, several results indicate that there is a contribution from a QSO-like emission component, in addition to both variable and polarised jet emission. The unpolarised emission component is likely thermal radiation from the accretion disc that dilutes the jet polarisation. We estimate its brightness to be R(QSO) ~ 17.85 - 18 and derive the intrinsic jet polarisation degree. We find no clear correlation between the optical and radio light curves, while the correlation between the optical and \gamma-ray flux apparently fades in time, likely because of an increasing optical to \gamma-ray flux ratio. As suggested for other blazars, the long-term variability of 4C 38.41 can be interpreted in terms of an inhomogeneous bent jet, where different emitting regions can change their alignment with respect to the line of sight, leading to variations in the Doppler factor \delta. Under the hypothesis that in the period 2008-2011 all the \gamma-ray and optical variability on a one-week timescale were due to changes in \delta, this would range between ~ 7 and ~ 21. If the variability were caused by changes in the viewing angle \theta\ only, then \theta\ would go from ~ 2.6 degr to ~ 5 degr. Variations in the viewing angle would also account for the dependence of the polarisation degree on the source brightness in the framework of a shock-in-jet model.
    07/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: The blazar AO 0235+164 (z = 0.94) has been one of the most active objects observed by Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) since its launch in Summer 2008. In addition to the continuous coverage by Fermi, contemporaneous observations were carried out from the radio to {\gamma} -ray bands between 2008 September and 2009 February. In this paper, we summarize the rich multi-wavelength data collected during the campaign (including F-GAMMA, GASP- WEBT, Kanata, OVRO, RXTE, SMARTS, Swift, and other instruments), examine the cross-correlation between the light curves measured in the different energy bands, and interpret the resulting spectral energy distributions in the context of well-known blazar emission models. We find that the {\gamma} -ray activity is well correlated with a series of near-IR/optical flares, accompanied by an increase in the optical polarization degree. On the other hand, the X-ray light curve shows a distinct 20 day high state of unusually soft spectrum, which does not match the extrapolation of the optical/UV synchrotron spectrum. We tentatively interpret this feature as the bulk Compton emission by cold electrons contained in the jet, which requires an accretion disk corona with an effective covering factor of 19% at a distance of 100 Rg . We model the broadband spectra with a leptonic model with external radiation dominated by the infrared emission from the dusty torus.
    07/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We present time-resolved broad-band observations of the quasar 3C 279 obtained from multi-wavelength campaigns conducted during the first two years of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope mission. While investigating the previously reported gamma-ray/optical flare accompanied by a change in optical polarization, we found that the optical emission appears delayed with respect to the gamma-ray emission by about 10 days. X-ray observations reveal a pair of `isolated' flares separated by ~90 days, with only weak gamma-ray/optical counterparts. The spectral structure measured by Spitzer reveals a synchrotron component peaking in the mid-infrared band with a sharp break at the far-infrared band during the gamma-ray flare, while the peak appears in the mm/sub-mm band in the low state. Selected spectral energy distributions are fitted with leptonic models including Comptonization of external radiation produced in a dusty torus or the broad-line region. Adopting the interpretation of the polarization swing involving propagation of the emitting region along a curved trajectory, we can explain the evolution of the broad-band spectra during the gamma-ray flaring event by a shift of its location from ~ 1 pc to ~ 4 pc from the central black hole. On the other hand, if the gamma-ray flare is generated instead at sub-pc distance from the central black hole, the far-infrared break can be explained by synchrotron self-absorption. We also model the low spectral state, dominated by the mm/sub-mm peaking synchrotron component, and suggest that the corresponding inverse-Compton component explains the steady X-ray emission.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2012; 754(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
  • D. A. Morozova, I. S. Troitskiy
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    ABSTRACT: We have investigated total intensity radio images of 6 gamma-ray bright blazars (BL Lac, 3C 279, 3C 273, W Com, PKS 1510-089, and 3C 66A) and their optical and gamma-ray light curves to study connections between gamma-ray and optical brightness variations and changes in the parsec-scale radio structure. The blazars with faster apparent speeds, 3C 273, 3C 279, PKS 1510-089, and 3C 66A, exhibit stronger variability of the gamma-ray emission with higher flux density. Only blazars with faster apparent speeds show simultaneous optical and gamma-ray brightness variations during the flares. Our results are consisted with models in which the gamma-ray emission arises in high-relativistic jets.
    05/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: The fast variability in the total and polarized fluxes is prominent feature of blazars. The analysis demands dense series of observations. Meade 16" LX200 telescope is one of the basic instruments for these purposes in St.Petersburg State University. The photometry in B, V, R, I bands and polarimetry of the majority of program sources are spent. Thanks to organizational, methodical and technical solutions it was possible to achieve high efficiency of usage of the telescope for blazar monitoring. Unique observаtions series have been received. Results were included into articles published in such magazines, as the Astronomy Letters, Astronomy Reports, A&A, ApJ, Nature. International programs of active galactic nuclei monitoring are regularly spent.
    05/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We perform optical photometric and R-band polarimetric monitoring of FSRQ B2 1156+29 = 4C +29.45 = Ton 599 using 1.8-m Perkins telescope (Az,USA), 70-cm AZT-8 (CrAO, Ukraine) and 0.4-m LX-200 (St.Petersburg, Russia) telescopes, partly in the frames of GASP project. Our data show that starting from 2012 April 2 this blazar entered a phase of violent optical activity.
    The Astronomer's Telegram. 04/2012;