The very high energy (VHE; E great than 100 GeV) blazar Markarian 501 was observed between April 17 and May 5 (MJD 5493854956), 2009, as part of an extensive multi-wavelength campaign from radio to VHE. Strong VHE -ray activity was detected on May 1st with Whipple and VERITAS, when the flux (E greater than 400 GeV) increased to 10 times the pre-flare baseline flux (3.9 x 10(exp -11 ph cm(exp -2 S(exp -1), reaching five times the flux of the Crab Nebula. This coincided with a decrease in the optical polarization and a rotation of the polarization angle by 15deg. This VHE flare showed a fast flux variation with an increase of a factor approximately 4 in 25 min, and a falling time of approximately 50 min. We present the observations of the quiescent state previous to the flare and of the high state after the flare, focusing on the flux and spectral variability from Whipple, VERITAS, Fermi-LAT, RXTE, and Swift combined with optical and radio data.
Astronomy &amp; Astrophysics (ISSN 0004-6361) (e-ISSN 1432-0746); 594; A76