Multiwavelength Observations of Short Time-Scale Variability in NGC 4151. II. Optical Observations
Kaspi S., et al., 1996, ApJ, 470, 336

We present the results of an intensive ground-based spectrophotometric monitoring campaign of the Seyfert galaxy NGC 4151 for a period of over two months, with a typical temporal resolution of one day. Light curves for four optical continuum bands and the Halpha and Hbeta emission lines are given. During the monitoring period, the continuum at 6925 Å varied by ~17% while the continuum at 4600 Å varied by ~35%, with larger variations in the near UV. The wavelength dependence of the variation amplitude also extends into the far UV. The dependence in the 2700-7200 Å range can be explained by the different relative starlight contributions at different wavelengths, but the large variability at 1275 Å cannot be explained in this way. The continuum variability timescale is of order 13 days and is similar at all optical wavelength bands. No evidence for a time lag between the optical continuum and the UV continuum and emission lines was found. The Halpha emission line flux varied by about 12% with a gradual rise throughout the campaign. Its cross correlation with the continuum light curve gives a lag of 0-2 days. The variations in the Hbeta emission line flux are about 30% and lag the continuum by 0-3 days. This is in contrast to past results where a time lag of 9+/-2 days was found for both emission lines. This may be due to a different variability timescale of the ionizing continuum, or to a real change in the BLR gas distribution in the 5.5 years interval between the two campaigns.

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