Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physics

First Advisor's Name

James R Webb

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Michael Sukop

Third Advisor's Name

Prem Chapagain

Fourth Advisor's Name

Caroline Simpson

Fifth Advisor's Name

Walter Van Hamme

Keywords

astronomy, AGN, Blazar

Date of Defense

11-7-2012

Abstract

We organized an international campaign to observe the blazar 0716+714 in the optical band. The observations took place from February 24, 2009 to February 26, 2009. The global campaign was carried out by observers from more that sixteen countries and resulted in an extended light curve nearly seventy-eight hours long. The analysis and the modeling of this light curve form the main work of this dissertation project. In the first part of this work, we present the time series and noise analyses of the data. The time series analysis utilizes discrete Fourier transform and wavelet analysis routines to search for periods in the light curve. We then present results of the noise analysis which is based on the idea that each microvariability curve is the realization of the same underlying stochastic noise processes in the blazar jet. Neither reoccuring periods nor random noise can successfully explain the observed optical fluctuations. Hence in the second part, we propose and develop a new model to account for the microvariability we see in blazar 0716+714. We propose that the microvariability is due to the emission from turbulent regions in the jet that are energized by the passage of relativistic shocks. Emission from each turbulent cell forms a pulse of emission, and when convolved with other pulses, yields the observed light curve. We use the model to obtain estimates of the physical parameters of the emission regions in the jet.

Identifier

FI12113013

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