Radio variability and random walk noise properties of four blazars.
PARK J.-H. and TRIPPE S.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present the results of a time series analysis of the long-term radio light curves of four blazars: 3C 279, 3C 345, 3C 446, and BL Lacertae. We exploit the database of the University of Michigan Radio Astronomy Observatory monitoring program which provides densely sampled light curves spanning 32 years in time in three frequency bands located at 4.8, 8, and 14.5 GHz. Our sources show mostly flat or inverted (spectral indices -0.5 ≲ α ≲ 0) spectra, in agreement with optically thick emission. All light curves show strong variability on all timescales. Analyzing the time lags between the light curves from different frequency bands, we find that we can distinguish high-peaking flares and low-peaking flares in accordance with the classification of Valtaoja et al. The periodograms (temporal power spectra) of the observed light curves are consistent with random-walk power-law noise without any indication of (quasi-)periodic variability. The fact that all four sources studied are in agreement with being random-walk noise emitters at radio wavelengths suggests that such behavior is a general property of blazars.