Multiwavelength Observations of Short Time-Scale Variability in
I. Ultraviolet Observations
Crenshaw D.M., et al., 1996, ApJ, 470, 322
We present the results of an intensive ultraviolet monitoring campaign on the Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 4151, as part of an effort to study its short time-scale variability over a broad range in wavelength. The nucleus of NGC 4151 was observed continuously with the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) for 9.3 days, yielding a pair of LWP and SWP spectra every ~70 minutes, and during four-hour periods for 4 days prior to and 5 days after the continuous monitoring period. The sampling frequency of the observations is an order of magnitude higher than that of any previous UV monitoring campaign on a Seyfert galaxy. The continuum fluxes in bands from 1275 A to 2688 A went through four significant and well-defined ``events'' of duration 2 -- 3 days during the continuous monitoring period. We find that the amplitudes of the continuum variations decrease with increasing wavelength, which extends a general trend for this and other Seyfert galaxies to smaller time scales (i.e., a few days). The continuum variations in all of the UV bands are simultaneous to within an accuracy of about 0.15 days, providing a strict constraint on continuum models. The emission-line light curves show only one major event during the continuous monitoring (a slow rise followed by a shallow dip), and do not correlate well with continuum light curves over the (short) duration of the campaign, because the time scale for continuum variations is apparently smaller than the response times of the emission lines.