Tidally induced outbursts in OJ 287 during 2005-2008

M. J. Valtonen, K. Nilsson, C. Villforth, H. J. Lehto, L. O. Takalo, E. Lindfors, A. Sillanpää, V. P. Hentunen, S. Mikkola, S. Zola, M. Drozdz, D. Koziel, W. Ogloza, M. Kurpinska-Winiarska, M. Siwak, M. Winiarski, J. Heidt, M. Kidger, T. Pursimo, J. H. WuX. Zhou, K. Sadakane, D. Marchev, M. Nissinen, P. Niarchos, A. Liakos, K. Gazeas, S. Dogru, G. Poyner, M. Dietrich, R. Assef, D. Atlee, J. Bird, D. Depoy, J. Eastman, M. Peeples, J. Prieto, L. Watson, J. Yee, A. Mattingly, J. Ohlert

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49 Citations (SciVal)


The blazar OJ 287 has produced two major optical outburst events during the years 2005-2008. These are the latest in a series of outbursts that have occurred repeatedly at 12 year intervals since early 1900s. It has been possible to explain the historical light curve fairly well by using a binary black hole model where the secondary black hole impacts the accretion disk of the primary twice during the 12 year orbital cycle. We will ask here how well does the latest light-curve fit with this model. We use a 10 million particle disk to model the accretion disk of the primary black hole. The rate of transfer of particles through the 10 Schwarzschild radius cylinder around the primary is followed. The secondary induces an inward flow through this surface. The inward flow rate is compared with the historical light curve as well as with the most recent observations reported in this paper. The observations have been carried out by using a number of small and medium size telescopes in different locations in order to ensure a dense light-curve coverage. The "inflow light curve" and the optical light curve of OJ 287 have a close resemblance to each other. It suggests that the tidally induced accretion flow is responsible for the main features of the optical light curve, with the exception of the quasi-periodic double peaks. It implies a close connection between the accretion disk and the jet where the optical synchrotron emission is presumably generated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-785
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • BL Lacertae objects: individual (OJ 287)
  • Black hole physics
  • Ccretion, accretion disks
  • Quasars: individual (OJ 287)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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