We analyze the broadband activity of the flat spectrum radio quasar PKS 1222+216 from 2008 to 2015 using multi-frequency monitoring which involves γ-ray data from the Fermi Large Area Telescope, total intensity and linear polarization observations from different optical telescopes in R band, and imaging of the inner jet structure with the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) at 43 GHz. During the observations, the source showed several dramatic flares at g rays and optical bands, with the rising branch of a γ-ray flare accompanied by a rapid rotation of the polarization position angle (EVPA), a fast increase of the degree of polarization in the optical band, brightening of the VLBI core, and appearance of a new superluminal component in the parsec-scale jet. The rapid variability of the optical linear polarization may be explained by a strong turbulence in the jet plasma. We find a correlation between the g rays, optical R band, and 43 GHz variability on a lonγ-term scale (months and years), and a good general alignment between EVPAs in R band and at 43 GHz, while the correlation between short-term variations (days and weeks) is weaker. Synchronous activity across the bands supports the idea that the emission regions responsible for the γ-ray and optical flares are co-spatial and located in the vicinity of the mm-wave core of the parsec-scale jet. However, these connections do not completely explain the challenging behaviour of PKS 1222+216, since there are some γ-ray flares which are not accompanied by jet events, and vice versa. We need a continuation of multi-frequency monitoring along with high resolution imaging of the parsec-scale jet to understand in detail the origin of high energy emission in blazars.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics