The RINGO2 and DIPOL optical polarization catalogue of blazars

H. Jermak*, I. A. Steele, E. Lindfors, T. Hovatta, K. Nilsson, G. P. Lamb, C. Mundell, U. Barres de Almeida, A. Berdyugin, V. Kadenius, R. Reinthal, L. Takalo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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We present similar to 2000 polarimetric and similar to 3000 photometric observations of 15 gamma-ray bright blazars over a period of 936 days (2008-10-11 to 2012-10-26) using data from the Tuorla blazar monitoring program (KVA DIPOL) and Liverpool Telescope (LT) RINGO2 polarimeters (supplemented with data from SkyCamZ (LT) and Fermi-LAT gamma-ray data). In 11 out of 15 sources we identify a total of 19 electric vector position angle (EVPA) rotations and 95 flaring episodes. We group the sources into subclasses based on their broad-band spectral characteristics and compare their observed optical and gamma-ray properties. We find that (1) the optical magnitude and gamma-ray flux are positively correlated, (2) EVPA rotations can occur in any blazar subclass, four sources show rotations that go in one direction and immediately rotate back, (3) we see no difference in the gamma-ray flaring rates in the sample; flares can occur during and outside of rotations with no preference for this behaviour, (4) the average degree of polarization (DoP), optical magnitude and gamma-ray flux are lower during an EVPA rotation compared with during non-rotation and the distribution of the DoP during EVPA rotations is not drawn from the same parent sample as the distribution outside rotations, (5) the number of observed flaring events and optical polarization rotations are correlated, however we find no strong evidence for a temporal association between individual flares and rotations and (6) the maximum observed DoP increases from similar to 10 per cent to similar to 30 per cent to similar to 40 per cent for subclasses with synchrotron peaks at high, intermediate and low frequencies, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4267-4299
Number of pages33
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • polarization
  • instrumentation: polarimeters
  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: jets
  • gamma-rays: galaxies
  • QUASAR PKS 1510-089
  • PG 1553+113
  • 3C 279


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