We describe observations of the quasi-stellar object (QSO) NRAO 190 during a gamma-ray flare from 1994 August 9 to 1994 August 29. This QSO was serendipitously detected by the EGRET instrument on the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory in a gamma-ray flare with a luminosity at least 10 times that of its quiescent state. Optical, radio, and microwave data were obtained during or near the gamma-ray observations.
The historical behavior of this object places it in the category of bright, flat-spectrum radio sources with strong optical variability that appear to form the largest class of non-Galactic high-energy gamma-ray sources. During the gamma-ray flare the source is observed with l(E > 100 MeV) = 8.4 ± 1.2 × 10-7 photons s-1 cm-2. A single power-law model gives a best-fit photon index of γ = -1.83 ± 0.14.
Little evidence for major radio variability is seen during the flare or immediately afterward, although there is some increase in the 10-100 GHz flux over the next several months. There may be a slight hardening of the radio spectrum. In the optical region there are significant fluctuations on timescales of 1 day or less, although the overall optical luminosity is within the range of previous measurements. Optical observations a few weeks after the gamma-ray observations show a drop of about 60% and reduced variability. A contemporary optical spectrum shows that the source may be slightly harder than seen in a previously published spectrum. Radio monitoring of the source over the year subsequent to the flare has shown a very substantial drop in the flux at many frequencies.
- GALAXIES: QUASARS: INDIVIDUAL ALPHANUMERIC: NRAO 190, GAMMA RAYS: OBSERVATIONS