In late autumn 1994, the International AGN Watch started a multiwavelength monitoring campaign on 3C 390.3, the first radio-loud AGN to be selected for high temporal-resolution monitoring from the radio domain to X-ray energies. This AGN is is of particular interest since significant variations have been observed on both short and long time scales in both the line fluxes and line profiles (Barr et al. 1980, Veilleux & Zheng 1991).
In the optical, spectroscopic data and broad-band flux measurements in B, V, R, and I were obtained. The brightness of 3C 390.3 was calculated relative to the stars in the field. The R magnitudes are based on observations recorded at Calar Alto, Spain, in 1994 December. Generally, AGN spectra are intercalibrated using narrow forbidden emission lines since these lines can be taken as constant on time scales of decades (Peterson 1993). Since the [O III] λλ4959, 5007 flux is variable on time scales of several months (Zheng et al. 1995), these lines were studied in detail. We found that they were constant within ~2% during 1995 (Dietrich et al. 1996). The spectra were therefore intercalibrated by using the narrow forbidden emission lines. 3C 390.3 was also observed with IUE for 14 months (O’Brien et al. 1996) and with ROSAT for nine months in 1995 (Leighly et al. 1996). Radio data were also obtained during a 3-month MERLIN campaign.