The dual nature of blazar fast variability: Space and ground observations of S5 0716+714

Raiteri, C. M.; Villata, M.; Carosati, D.; Benítez, E.; Kurtanidze, S. O.; Gupta, A. C.; Mirzaqulov, D. O.; D'Ammando, F.; Larionov, V. M.; Pursimo, T.; Acosta-Pulido, J. A.; Baida, G. V.; Balmaverde, B.; Bonnoli, G.; Borman, G. A.; Carnerero, M. I.; Chen, W. -P.; Dhiman, V.; Di Maggio, A.; Ehgamberdiev, S. A.; Hiriart, D.; Kimeridze, G. N.; Kurtanidze, O. M.; Lin, C. S.; Lopez, J. M.; Marchini, A.; Matsumoto, K.; Mujica, R.; Nakamura, M.; Nikiforova, A. A.; Nikolashvili, M. G.; Okhmat, D. N.; Otero-Santos, J.; Rizzi, N.; Sakamoto, T.; Semkov, E.; Sigua, L. A.; Stiaccini, L.; Troitsky, I. S.; Tsai, A. L.; Vasilyev, A. A.; Zhovtan, A. V.
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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Blazar S5 0716+714 is well-known for its short-term variability, down to intraday time-scales. We here present the 2-min cadence optical light curve obtained by the TESS space telescope in 2019 December-2020 January and analyse the object fast variability with unprecedented sampling. Supporting observations by the Whole Earth Blazar Telescope Collaboration in B, V, R, and I bands allow us to investigate the spectral variability during the TESS pointing. The spectral analysis is further extended in frequency to the UV and X-ray bands with data from the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory. We develop a new method to unveil the shortest optical variability time-scales. This is based on progressive de-trending of the TESS light curve by means of cubic spline interpolations through the binned fluxes, with decreasing time bins. The de-trended light curves are then analysed with classical tools for time-series analysis (periodogram, autocorrelation, and structure functions). The results show that below 3 d there are significant characteristic variability time-scales of about 1.7, 0.5, and 0.2 d. Variability on time-scales $\lesssim 0.2$ d is strongly chromatic and must be ascribed to intrinsic energetic processes involving emitting regions, likely jet substructures, with dimension less than about 10-3 pc. In contrast, flux changes on time-scales $\gtrsim 0.5$ d are quasi-achromatic and are probably due to Doppler factor changes of geometric origin.
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