C. Villforth

University of St Andrews, Saint Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom

Are you C. Villforth?

Claim your profile

Publications (38)167.21 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present the most complete study to date of the X-ray emission from star-formation in high redshift (median z=0.7; z<1.5), IR-luminous (L_IR=10^10-10^13 L_sun) galaxies detected by Herschel's PACS and SPIRE instruments. For our purpose we take advantage of the deepest X-ray data to date, the Chandra deep fields (North and South). Sources which host AGN are removed from our analysis by means of multiple AGN indicators. We find an AGN fraction of 18+/-2 per cent amongst our sample and note that AGN entirely dominate at values of log[L_X/L_IR]>-3 in both hard and soft X-ray bands. From the sources which are star-formation dominated, only a small fraction are individually X-ray detected and for the bulk of the sample we calculate average X-ray luminosities through stacking. We find an average soft X-ray to infrared ratio of log[L_SX/L_IR]=-4.3 and an average hard X-ray to infrared ratio of log[L_HX/L_IR]=-3.8. We report that the X-ray/IR correlation is approximately linear through the entire range of L_IR and z probed and, although broadly consistent with the local (z<0.1) one, it does display some discrepancies. We suggest that these discrepancies are unlikely to be physical, i.e. due to an intrinsic change in the X-ray properties of star-forming galaxies with cosmic time, as there is no significant evidence for evolution of the L_X/L_IR ratio with redshift. Instead they are possibly due to selection effects and remaining AGN contamination. We also examine whether dust obscuration in the galaxy plays a role in attenuating X-rays from star-formation, by investigating changes in the L_X/L_IR ratio as a function of the average dust temperature. We conclude that X-rays do not suffer any measurable attenuation in the host galaxy.
    07/2014;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Quasars with extremely red colours are an interesting population that can test ideas about quasar evolution as well as orientation and geometric effects in the so-called AGN unified model. To identify such a population we search the quasar catalogs of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) and the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) for quasars with extremely high infrared-to-optical ratios. We identify 65 objects with r(AB)-W4(Vega)>14 mag (i.e., F_nu(22um)/F_nu(r) > ~1000). This sample spans a redshift range of 0.28<z<4.36 with a median of z~1.5 and includes three z>2.6 objects that are detected in the W4-band but not W1 or W2 (i.e., "W1W2-dropouts"). The SDSS/BOSS spectra show that the majority of the objects are reddened Type 1 quasars, Type 2 quasars (both at low and high redshift) or objects with deep low-ionization broad absorption lines (BALs) that suppress the observed r-band flux. In addition, we identify a class of Type 1 permitted broad-emission line objects at z~2-3 which are characterized by emission line rest-frame equivalent widths (REWs) of > ~150A not characteristic of typical quasars. For example, 55% (45%) of the non-BAL Type 1s with measurable CIV in our sample have REW(CIV) >100 (150) A, compared to only 5.8% (1.3%) for non-BAL quasars generally in BOSS. These objects often also have unusual line properties including unusually high NV/Ly-alpha ratios. These large REWs might be caused by suppressed continuum emission analogous to Type 2 quasars; however, there is no obvious mechanism in the Unified Model to suppress the continuum without also obscuring the broad emission lines.
    05/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Quasars with extremely red colours are an interesting population that can test ideas about quasar evolution as well as orientation and geometric effects in the so-called AGN unified model. To identify such a population we search the quasar catalogs of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) and the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) for quasars with extremely high infrared-to-optical ratios. We identify 65 objects with r(AB)-W4(Vega)>14 mag (i.e., F_nu(22um)/F_nu(r) > ~1000). This sample spans a redshift range of 0.28
    04/2014;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The processes that trigger Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) remain poorly understood. While lower luminosity AGN may be triggered by minor disturbances to the host galaxy, stronger disturbances are likely required to trigger luminous AGN. Major wet mergers of galaxies are ideal environments for AGN triggering since they provide large gas supplies and galaxy scale torques. There is however little observational evidence for a strong connection between AGN and major mergers. We analyse the morphological properties of AGN host galaxies as a function of AGN and host galaxy luminosity and compare them to a carefully matched sample of control galaxies. AGN are X-ray selected in the redshift range 0.5 < z < 0.8 and have luminosities 41 < log(L_X [erg/s]) < 44.5. 'Fake AGN' are simulated in the control galaxies by adding point sources with the magnitude of the matched AGN. We find that AGN host and control galaxies have comparable assymetries, Sersic indices and ellipticities at restframe ~950nm. AGN host galaxies show neither higher average asymmetries nor higher fractions of very disturbed objects. There is no increase in the prevalence of merger signatures with AGN luminosity. At 95% confidence we find that major mergers are responsible for <6% of all AGN in our sample as well as <40% of the highest luminosity AGN log(L_X [erg/s]) ~ 43.5). Major mergers therefore either play only a very minor role in the triggering of AGN in the luminosity range studied or time delays are too long for merger features to remain visible.
    01/2014; 439(4).
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: 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.
    10/2013;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mergers of galaxies have been suspected to be a major trigger of AGN activity for many years. However, when compared to carefully matched control samples, AGN host galaxies often show no enhanced signs of interaction. A common explanation for this lack of observed association between AGN and mergers has often been that while mergers are of importance for triggering AGN, they only dominate at the very high luminosity end of the AGN population. In this study, we compare the morphologies of AGN hosts to a carefully matched control sample and particularly study the role of AGN luminosity. We find no enhanced merger rates in AGN hosts and also find no trend for stronger signs of disturbance at higher AGN luminosities. While this study does not cover very high luminosity AGN, we can exclude a strong connection between AGN and mergers over a wide range of AGN luminosities and therefore for a large part of the AGN population.
    03/2013;
  • Source
    Carolin Villforth, Fred Hamann
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mergers are suspected to be reliable triggers of both starformation and AGN activity. However, the exact timing of this process remains poorly understood. Here, we present deep imaging and long slit spectroscopy data of a sample of four double-peaked [OIII] emitting AGN. These sources are often believed to host binary AGN, or at least be currently undergoing major mergers. The sample presented here either have previous IFU and high resolution imaging data that show double-nuclei in the IR as well as kinematicly and spatially distinct line emitting regions. Two sources have detections of double point sources in either the X-ray or radio. The sources studied are therefore likely binary AGN. The AGN in this sample are luminous, radio-quiet and at low redshift. The $u/r/z$ imaging data show host galaxies in a wide range of merger stages, with the majority (3/4) showing tidal tails or complex kinematics and morphologies clearly indicating a recent merger. One source however -hosting a double X-ray source- shows quiescent morphologies with no clear signs of interaction from imaging data. The spectroscopy in this case reveals a gas disk counter-rotating with respect to the stellar component. Spectroscopy of the other sources reveal disturbed kinematics further confirming their status as ongoing mergers. Our data show that AGN triggering in mergers may happen over a wide time span and that sinking of black holes to the center of a merged system might take considerable time in some cases. A detailed analysis will be published in an upcoming paper. Further studies of AGN in merging galaxies will show how the hosts of those AGN differ from normal mergers without AGN activity.
    03/2013;
  • Carolin Villforth, Vicki Sarajedini, Anton Koekemoer
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Variability selection has been proposed as a powerful tool for identifying both low-luminosity active galactic nuclei (AGN) and those with unusual spectral energy distributions. However, a systematic study of sources selected in such a way has been lacking. In this paper, we present the multiwavelength properties of the variability-selected AGN in GOODS-South. We demonstrate that variability selection indeed reliably identifies AGN, predominantly of low luminosity. We find contamination from stars as well as a very small sample of sources that show no sign of AGN activity, their number is consistent with the expected false positive rate. We also study the host galaxies and environments of the AGN in the sample. Disturbed host morphologies are relatively common. The host galaxies span a wide range in the level of ongoing star formation. However, massive starbursts are only present in the hosts of the most luminous AGN in the sample. There is no clear environmental preference for the AGN sample in general but we find that the most luminous AGN on average avoid dense regions while some low-luminosity AGN hosted by late-type galaxies are found near the centres of groups. AGN in our sample have closer nearest neighbours than the general galaxy population. We find no indications that major mergers are a dominant triggering process for the moderate- to low-luminosity AGN in this sample. The environments and host galaxy properties instead suggest secular processes, in particular tidal processes at first passage and minor mergers, as likely triggers for the objects studied. This study demonstrates the strength of variability selection for AGN and gives first hints at possibly triggering mechanisms for high-redshift low-luminosity AGN.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 10/2012; 426(1):360-376. · 5.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present the results of deep I-band imaging of two BL Lacerate objects, RGB 0136+391 and PKS 0735+178, during an epoch when the optical nucleus was in a faint state in both targets. In PKS 0735+178 we find a significant excess over a point source, which, if fitted by the de Vaucouleurs model, corresponds to a galaxy with I = 18.64 +- 0.11 and r_eff = 1.8 +- 0.4 arcsec. Interpreting this galaxy as the host galaxy of PKS 0735+178 we derive z = 0.45 +- 0.06 using the host galaxy as a "standard candle". We also discuss the immediate optical environment of PKS 0735+178 and the identity of the MgII absorber at z = 0.424. Despite of the optimally chosen epoch and deep imaging we find the surface brightness profile of RGB 0136+391 to be consistent with a point source. By determining a lower limit for the host galaxy brightness by simulations, we derive z > 0.40 for this target.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 09/2012; · 5.08 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Carolin Villforth, Vicki Sarajedini, Anton Koekemoer
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Variability selection has been proposed as a powerful tool for identifying both low-luminosity AGN and those with unusual SEDs. However, a systematic study of sources selected in such a way has been lacking. In this paper, we present the multi-wavelength properties of the variability selected AGN in GOODS South. We demonstrate that variability selection indeed reliably identifies AGN, predominantly of low luminosity. We find contamination from stars as well as a very small sample of sources that show no sign of AGN activity, their number is consistent with the expected false positive rate. We also study the host galaxies and environments of the AGN in the sample. Disturbed host morphologies are relatively common. The host galaxies span a wide range in the level of ongoing star-formation. However, massive star-bursts are only present in the hosts of the most luminous AGN in the sample. There is no clear environmental preference for the AGN sample in general but we find that the most luminous AGN on average avoid dense regions while some low-luminosity AGN hosted by late-type galaxies are found near the centres of groups. AGN in our sample have closer nearest neighbours than the general galaxy population. We find no indications that major mergers are a dominant triggering process for the moderate to low luminosity AGN in this sample. The environments and host galaxy properties instead suggest secular processes, in particular tidal processes at first passage and minor mergers, as likely triggers for the objects studied. This study demonstrates the strength of variability selection for AGN and gives first hints at possibly triggering mechanisms for high-redshift low luminosity AGN.
    07/2012;
  • Carolin Villforth, F. Hamann, A. Koekemoer
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present results concerning AGN triggering in high redshift low luminosity AGN as well as local binary AGN.
    05/2012;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper describes the Hubble Space Telescope imaging data products and data reduction procedures for the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS). This survey is designed to document the evolution of galaxies and black holes at z 1.5-8, and to study Type Ia supernovae at z > 1.5. Five premier multi-wavelength sky regions are selected, each with extensive multi-wavelength observations. The primary CANDELS data consist of imaging obtained in the Wide Field Camera 3 infrared channel (WFC3/IR) and the WFC3 ultraviolet/optical channel, along with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). The CANDELS/Deep survey covers ~125 arcmin2 within GOODS-N and GOODS-S, while the remainder consists of the CANDELS/Wide survey, achieving a total of ~800 arcmin2 across GOODS and three additional fields (Extended Groth Strip, COSMOS, and Ultra-Deep Survey). We summarize the observational aspects of the survey as motivated by the scientific goals and present a detailed description of the data reduction procedures and products from the survey. Our data reduction methods utilize the most up-to-date calibration files and image combination procedures. We have paid special attention to correcting a range of instrumental effects, including charge transfer efficiency degradation for ACS, removal of electronic bias-striping present in ACS data after Servicing Mission 4, and persistence effects and other artifacts in WFC3/IR. For each field, we release mosaics for individual epochs and eventual mosaics containing data from all epochs combined, to facilitate photometric variability studies and the deepest possible photometry. A more detailed overview of the science goals and observational design of the survey are presented in a companion paper.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 12/2011; 197(2):36. · 16.24 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Mauri J. Valtonen, Carolin Villforth, Kaj Wiik
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We study the variation of the optical polarization angle in the blazar OJ287 and compare it with the precessing binary black hole model with a 'live' accretion disk. First, a model of the variation of the jet direction is calculated, and the main parameters of the model are fixed by the long term optical brightness evolution. Then this model is compared with the variation of the parsec scale radio jet position angle in the sky. Finally, the variation of the polarization angle is calculated using the same model, but using a magnetic field configuration which is at a constant angle relative to the optical jet. It is found that the model fits the data reasonably well if the field is almost parallel to the jet axis. This may imply a steady magnetic field geometry, such as a large-scale helical field.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 11/2011; · 5.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Using HST/WFC3 imaging taken as part of the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS), we examine the role that major galaxy mergers play in triggering active galactic nuclei (AGN) activity at z~2. Our sample consists of 72 moderate-luminosity (Lx ~ 1E42-1E44 erg/s) AGN at 1.5<z<2.5 that are selected using the 4 Msec Chandra observations in the Chandra Deep Field South, the deepest X-ray observations to date. Employing visual classifications, we have analyzed the rest-frame optical morphologies of the AGN host galaxies and compared them to a mass-matched control sample of 216 non-active galaxies at the same redshift. We find that most of the AGN reside in disk galaxies (51.4%), while a smaller percentage are found in spheroids (27.8%). Roughly 16.7% of the AGN hosts have highly disturbed morphologies and appear to be involved in a major merger or interaction, while most of the hosts (55.6%) appear relatively relaxed and undisturbed. These fractions are statistically consistent with the fraction of control galaxies that show similar morphological disturbances. These results suggest that the hosts of moderate-luminosity AGN are no more likely to be involved in an ongoing merger or interaction relative to non-active galaxies of similar mass at z~2. The high disk fraction observed among the AGN hosts also appears to be at odds with predictions that merger-driven accretion should be the dominant AGN fueling mode at z~2, even at moderate X-ray luminosities. Although we cannot rule out that minor mergers are responsible for triggering these systems, the presence of a large population of relatively undisturbed disk-like hosts suggests that secular processes play a greater role in fueling AGN activity at z~2 than previously thought.
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2011; · 6.73 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We report on TeV gamma-ray observations of the blazar Mrk 421 (redshift of 0.031) with the VERITAS observatory and the Whipple 10m Cherenkov telescope. The excellent sensitivity of VERITAS allowed us to sample the TeV gamma-ray fluxes and energy spectra with unprecedented accuracy where Mrk 421 was detected in each of the pointings. A total of 47.3 hrs of VERITAS and 96 hrs of Whipple 10m data were acquired between January 2006 and June 2008. We present the results of a study of the TeV gamma-ray energy spectra as a function of time, and for different flux levels. On May 2nd and 3rd, 2008, bright TeV gamma-ray flares were detected with fluxes reaching the level of 10 Crab. The TeV gamma-ray data were complemented with radio, optical, and X-ray observations, with flux variability found in all bands except for the radio waveband. The combination of the RXTE and Swift X-ray data reveal spectral hardening with increasing flux levels, often correlated with an increase of the source activity in TeV gamma-rays. Contemporaneous spectral energy distributions were generated for 18 nights, each of which are reasonably described by a one-zone SSC model.
    Astrophysical Journal - ASTROPHYS J. 06/2011; 738.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS) is designed to document the first third of galactic evolution, over the approximate redshift (z) range 8--1.5. It will image >250,000 distant galaxies using three separate cameras on the Hubble Space Telescope, from the mid-ultraviolet to the near-infrared, and will find and measure Type Ia supernovae at z>1.5 to test their accuracy as standardizable candles for cosmology. Five premier multi-wavelength sky regions are selected, each with extensive ancillary data. The use of five widely separated fields mitigates cosmic variance and yields statistically robust and complete samples of galaxies down to a stellar mass of 10^9 M_\odot to z \approx 2, reaching the knee of the ultraviolet luminosity function (UVLF) of galaxies to z \approx 8. The survey covers approximately 800 arcmin^2 and is divided into two parts. The CANDELS/Deep survey (5\sigma\ point-source limit H=27.7 mag) covers \sim 125 arcmin^2 within GOODS-N and GOODS-S. The CANDELS/Wide survey includes GOODS and three additional fields (EGS, COSMOS, and UDS) and covers the full area to a 5\sigma\ point-source limit of H \gtrsim 27.0 mag. Together with the Hubble Ultra Deep Fields, the strategy creates a three-tiered "wedding cake" approach that has proven efficient for extragalactic surveys. Data from the survey are nonproprietary and are useful for a wide variety of science investigations. In this paper, we describe the basic motivations for the survey, the CANDELS team science goals and the resulting observational requirements, the field selection and geometry, and the observing design. The Hubble data processing and products are described in a companion paper.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 05/2011; · 16.24 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper describes the Hubble Space Telescope imaging data products and data reduction procedures for the Cosmic Assembly Near-IR Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS). This survey is designed to document the evolution of galaxies and black holes at $z\sim1.5-8$, and to study Type Ia SNe beyond $z>1.5$. Five premier multi-wavelength sky regions are selected, each with extensive multiwavelength observations. The primary CANDELS data consist of imaging obtained in the Wide Field Camera 3 / infrared channel (WFC3/IR) and UVIS channel, along with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). The CANDELS/Deep survey covers \sim125 square arcminutes within GOODS-N and GOODS-S, while the remainder consists of the CANDELS/Wide survey, achieving a total of \sim800 square arcminutes across GOODS and three additional fields (EGS, COSMOS, and UDS). We summarize the observational aspects of the survey as motivated by the scientific goals and present a detailed description of the data reduction procedures and products from the survey. Our data reduction methods utilize the most up to date calibration files and image combination procedures. We have paid special attention to correcting a range of instrumental effects, including CTE degradation for ACS, removal of electronic bias-striping present in ACS data after SM4, and persistence effects and other artifacts in WFC3/IR. For each field, we release mosaics for individual epochs and eventual mosaics containing data from all epochs combined, to facilitate photometric variability studies and the deepest possible photometry. A more detailed overview of the science goals and observational design of the survey are presented in a companion paper.
    Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series - ASTROPHYS J SUPPL SER. 05/2011; 197.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Variability is a property shared by practically all active galactic nuclei (AGNs). This makes variability selection a possible technique for identifying AGNs. Given that variability selection makes no prior assumption about spectral properties, it is a powerful technique for detecting both low-luminosity AGNs in which the host galaxy emission is dominating and AGNs with unusual spectral properties. In this paper, we will discuss and test different statistical methods for the detection of variability in sparsely sampled data that allow full control over the false positive rates. We will apply these methods to the GOODS North and South fields and present a catalog of variable sources in the z band in both GOODS fields. Out of the 11,931 objects checked, we find 155 variable sources at a significance level of 99.9%, corresponding to about 1.3% of all objects. After rejection of stars and supernovae, 139 variability-selected AGNs remain. Their magnitudes reach down as faint as 25.5 mag in z. Spectroscopic redshifts are available for 22 of the variability-selected AGNs, ranging from 0.046 to 3.7. The absolute magnitudes in the rest-frame z band range from ~–18 to –24, reaching substantially fainter than the typical luminosities probed by traditional X-ray and spectroscopic AGN selection in these fields. Therefore, this is a powerful technique for future exploration of the evolution of the faint end of the AGN luminosity function up to high redshifts.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2010; 723(1):737. · 6.73 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Carolin Villforth, Anton M. Koekemoer, Norman A. Grogin
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Variability is a property shared by practically all AGN. This makes variability selection a possible technique for identifying AGN. Given that variability selection makes no prior assumption about spectral properties, it is a powerful technique for detecting both low-luminosity AGN in which the host galaxy emission is dominating and AGN with unusual spectral properties. In this paper, we will discuss and test different statistical methods for the detection of variability in sparsely sampled data that allow full control over the false positive rates. We will apply these methods to the GOODS North and South fields and present a catalog of variable sources in the z band in both GOODS fields. Out of 11931 objects checked, we find 155 variable sources at a significance level of 99.9%, corresponding to about 1.3% of all objects. After rejection of stars and supernovae, 139 variability selected AGN remain. Their magnitudes reach down as faint as 25.5 mag in z. Spectroscopic redshifts are available for 22 of the variability selected AGN, ranging from 0.046 to 3.7. The absolute magnitudes in the rest-frame z-band range from ~ -18 to -24, reaching substantially fainter than the typical luminosities probed by traditional X-ray and spectroscopic AGN selection in these fields. Therefore, this is a powerful technique for future exploration of the evolution of the faint end of the AGN luminosity function up to high redshifts. Comment: Accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal (version 2: minor changes to text after receiving comments)
    08/2010;
  • Source
    C. Villforth, K. Nilsson, J. Heidt, T. Pursimo
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: OJ287 is a BL Lac object at redshift z=0.306 that has shown double-peaked bursts at regular intervals of ~12 yr during the last ~ 40 yr. Due to this behavior, it has been suggested that OJ287 might host a close supermassive binary black hole. We present optical photopolarimetric monitoring data from 2005-2009, during which the latest double-peaked outburst occurred. We find a stable component in the optical jet: the optical polarization core. The optical polarization indicates that the magnetic field is oriented parallel to the jet. Using historical optical polarization data, we trace the evolution of the optical polarization core and find that it has showed a swing in the Stokes plane indicating a reorientation of the jet magnetic field. We also find that changes in the optical jet magnetic field seem tightly related to the double-peaked bursts. We use our findings as a new constraint on possible binary black hole models. Combining all available observations, we find that none of the proposed binary black bole models is able to fully explain the observations. We suggest a new approach to understanding OJ287 that is based on the assumption that changes in the jet magnetic field drive the regular outbursts. Comment: To appear in the proceedings of the meeting "Steady and Transient Jets", held in Bonn, Germany (7-8 April 2010)
    08/2010;

Publication Stats

49 Citations
167.21 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • University of St Andrews
      • School of Physics and Astronomy
      Saint Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2012
    • University of Florida
      • Department of Astronomy
      Gainesville, Florida, United States
  • 2011
    • University of California, Santa Cruz
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Santa Cruz, California, United States
  • 2010–2011
    • Space Telescope Science Institute
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
    • University of Toronto
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2009–2010
    • University of Turku
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Turku, Western Finland, Finland
    • University of Portsmouth
      Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom