Rapid polarization variability in the BL Lacertae object S5 0716 + 714

Chris D. Impey, Victor Bychkov, Santiago Tapia, Yuri Gnedin, Simon Pustilnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We present optical polarimetry of the violently variable BL Lacertae object S5 0716 + 714, obtained over a three year period using the 6 m telescope at the Special Astrophysical Observatory in Russia. The degree of polarization is high and variable throughout the observations. With a minimum time resolution of 1 minute, significant variations on a timescale of 10-15 minutes are observed. The variations are complex and not fully sampled by this data, but they are characterized by large amplitude changes on a timescale of about 1 day superposed on smooth variations with a timescale of about 1 week. Possible periods of 12.5, 2.5, and 0.14 days have been discovered. S5 0716 + 714 is a highly compact radio source with nonthermal emission observed across the electromagnetic spectrum out to gamma rays. The optical polarization variations are consistent with relativistically beamed synchrotron emission viewed at a very small angle to the line of sight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1542-1561
Number of pages20
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2000


  • BL Lacertae objects: individual (0716 + 714)
  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Polarization
  • Quasars: general
  • Radio emission lines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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