Steps Toward Determination of the Size and Structure of the
Broad-Line Region in Active Galactic Nuclei:
XV. Long-Term Optical Monitoring of NGC 5548
Peterson, B.M., et al. 1999, ApJ, 510, 659
We present the results of three years of ground-based observations of the Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 5548, which combined with previously reported data, yield optical continuum and broad-line Hbeta light curves for a total of eight years. The light curves consist of over 800 points, with a typical spacing of a few days between observations. During this eight-year period, the nuclear continuum has varied by more than a factor of seven, and the Hbeta emission line has varied by a factor of nearly six. The Hbeta emission line responds to continuum variations with a time delay or lag of ~10 - 20 days, the precise value varying somewhat from year to year. We find some indications that the lag varies with continuum flux in the sense that the lag is larger when the source is brighter.