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Special Notice #396: Blazar PKS 0716+71 in very bright outburst

January 19, 2015: The blazar PKS 0716+71 == S5 0716+71 is currently in a very bright active state, at a visual magnitude of 12.1 as observed by G. Poyner on 2015 January 19.212 (JD 2457041.712).  The object was first noted in outburst by Arkharov et al. (ATel #6942, 17 January 2015), who noted the object at an R-band magnitude of 12.4 on January 14, and brighter still at R=11.8 on January 16.  The object was likely fainter than 13.5 through at least 2015 January 13.9 (JD 2457036.4063), with a visual fainter than of <13.5 reported by A. Glez-Herrera (Ferrol, Spain).  The object was then observed in bright outburst by Poyner, at a visual magnitude of 13.1 at 2015 January 16.965 (2457039.465).  Several visual observations since then have put this blazar at or beyond its historical range, including the following: 12.4, JD 2457040.2778 and 2457040.4097 (K. Wenzel, Grossostheim, Germany); 12.2, JD 2457040.4736 (J. O'Neill, Topsfield, Massachusetts, United States); 12.4, JD 2457041.2674 (Wenzel); 12.3, JD 2457041.3819 (Wenzel); and the 12.1 estimate by Poyner noted above.  Continued monitoring of PKS 0716+71 during this outburst is encouraged.

PKS 0716+71 is located at the following (J2000) coordinates:

RA: 07 21 53.44 , Dec: +71 20 36.4

Both visual and filtered instrumental observations will be useful.  The object is bright enough for spectroscopic observations, e.g. the report by R. Leadbeater on the ARAS website:     http://www.spectro-aras.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1050

Blazar optical spectra are typically featureless, as they are dominated by continuum emission from the relativistic jets responsible for the optical light.

Charts for PKS 0716+71 may be created using the AAVSO Variable Star Plotter (http://www.aavso.org/vsp).

Please promptly report all observations to the AAVSO via WebObs using the name "PKS 0716+71".

This AAVSO Special Notice was prepared by M. Templeton.

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