Authors: Mauri Valtonen, Aimo Sillanpää
Date: 15 Nov 2011
Abstract: The light curve of quasar OJ287 extends from 1891 up today without major gaps. This is partly due to extensive studies of historical plate archives by Rene Hudec and associates, and partly due to several observing campaigns in recent times. Here we summarize the results of the 2005 - 2010 observing campaign, in which several hundred scientists and amateur astronomers took part. The main results are the following: (1) The 2005 October optical outburst came at the expected time, thus confirming the General Relativistic precession in the binary black hole system. At the same time, this result disproved the model of a single black hole system with accretion disk oscillations, as well as several toy models of binaries without relativistic precession. (2) The nature of the radiation of the 2005 October outburst was expected to be bremsstrahlung from hot gas at a temperature of 3 10ˆ5 degrees K. This was confirmed by combined ground based and ultraviolet observations using the XMM-Newton X-ray telescope. (3) A secondary outburst of the same nature was expected at 2007 September 13. Within the accuracy of the observations (about 6 hours), it started at the correct time. Due to the bremsstrahlung nature of the outburst, the radiation was unpolarized, as expected. (4) Further synchrotron outbursts were expected following the two bremsstrahlung outbursts. They came as scheduled between 2007 October and 2009 December. (5) Due to the effect of the secondary on the overall direction of the jet, the parsec scale jet is expected to rotate in the sky by a large angle, which has been confirmed. The OJ287 binary black hole system is currently our best laboratory for testing theories of gravitation. Using OJ287, the correctness of General Relativity has now been demonstrated up to the second Post-Newtonian order, higher than has been possible using binary pulsars.
© M. Vallisneri 2012 — last modified on 2010/01/29
Tantum in modicis, quantum in maximis