An analysis is presented of the optical polarimetric and multicolour photometric (BVRJ) behaviour of the blazar PKS 2155-304 during an outburst in 2010. This flare develops over roughly 117 d, with a flux doubling time τ ∼ 11 d, which increases from blue to red wavelengths. The polarization angle is initially aligned with the jet axis but rotates by roughly 90° as the flare grows. Two distinct states are evident at low and high fluxes. Below 18 mJy, the polarization angle takes on a wide range of values, without any clear relation to the flux. In contrast, there is a positive correlation between the polarization angle and flux above 18 mJy. The polarization degree does not display a clear correlation with the flux. We find that the photopolarimetric behaviour for the high flux state can be attributed to a variable component with a steady power-law spectral energy distribution and high optical polarization degree (13.3 per cent). These properties are interpreted within the shock-in-jet model, which shows that the observed variability can be explained by a shock that is seen nearly edge-on. Some parameters derived for the relativistic jet within the shock-in-jet model are: B = 0.06 G for the magnetic field, δ = 22.3 for the Doppler factor, and Φ = 2.6° for the viewing angle.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- June 2020
- BL Lacertae objects: individual: PKS 2155-304;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 8 pages, 9 figures