GRB 090902B: Afterglow Observations and Implications

The Astrophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 6.28). 04/2010; 714(1):799. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/714/1/799
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT The optical-infrared afterglow of the Large Area Telescope (LAT)-detected long-duration burst, GRB 090902B, has been observed by several instruments. The earliest detection by ROTSE-IIIa occurred 80 minutes after detection by the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor instrument on board the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, revealing a bright afterglow and a decay slope suggestive of a reverse shock origin. Subsequent optical-IR observations followed the light curve for 6.5 days. The temporal and spectral behavior at optical-infrared frequencies is consistent with synchrotron fireball model predictions; the cooling break lies between optical and XRT frequencies ~1.9 days after the burst. The inferred electron energy index is p = 1.8 ± 0.2, which would however imply an X-ray decay slope flatter than observed. The XRT and LAT data have similar spectral indices and the observed steeper value of the LAT temporal index is marginally consistent with the predicted temporal decay in the radiative regime of the forward shock model. Absence of a jet break during the first 6 days implies a collimation-corrected γ-ray energy E γ > 2.2 × 1052 erg, one of the highest ever seen in a long-duration gamma-ray bursts. More events combining GeV photon emission with multiwavelength observations will be required to constrain the nature of the central engine powering these energetic explosions and to explore the correlations between energetic quanta and afterglow emission.

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    ABSTRACT: We continue our systematic statistical study on optical afterglow data of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). We present the apparent magnitude distributions of early optical afterglows at different epochs (t= 10^2 s, t = 10^3 s, and 1 hour) for the optical lightcurves of a sample of 93 GRBs (the global sample), and for sub-samples with an afterglow onset bump or a shallow decay segment. For the onset sample and shallow decay sample we also present the brightness distribution at the peak time t_{p} and break time t_{b}, respectively. All the distributions can be fit with Gaussian functions. We further perform Monte Carlo simulations to infer the luminosity function of GRB optical emission at the rest-frame time 10^3 seconds, t_{p}, and t_{b}, respectively. Our results show that a single power-law luminosity function is adequate to model the data, with indices -1.40+/-0.10, -1.06+/- 0.16, and -1.54\+/- 0.22, respectively. Based on the derived rest-frame 10^3 s luminosity function, we generate the intrinsic distribution of the R-band apparent magnitude M_{R} at the observed time 10^{3} seconds post trigger, which peaks at M_{R}=22.5 mag. The fraction of GRBs whose R-band magnitude is fainter than 22 mag, and 25 mag and at the observer time 10^3 seconds are ~63% and ~25%, respectively. The detection probabilities of the optical afterglows with ground-based robotic telescopes and UVOT onboard {Swift} are roughly consistent with that inferred from this intrinsic M_{R} distribution, indicating that the variations of the dark GRB fraction among the samples with different telescopes may be due to the observational selection effect, although the existence of an intrinsically dark GRB population cannot be ruled out.
    The Astrophysical Journal 07/2013; 774(2). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/774/2/132 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We use a parent sample of 118 gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglows, with known redshift and host galaxy extinction, to separate afterglows with and without signatures of dominant reverse-shock emission and to determine which physical conditions lead to a prominent reverse-shock emission. We identify 10 GRBs with reverse shock signatures - GRBs 990123, 021004, 021211, 060908, 061126, 080319B, 081007, 090102, 090424 and 130427A. By modeling their optical afterglows with reverse and forward shock analytic light curves and using Monte Carlo simulations, we estimate the parameter space of the physical quantities describing the ejecta and circumburst medium. We find that physical properties cover a wide parameter space and do not seem to cluster around any preferential values. Comparing the rest-frame optical, X-ray and high-energy properties of the larger sample of non-RS-dominated GRBs, we show that the early-time ($<$ 1ks) optical spectral luminosity, X-ray afterglow luminosity and $\gamma$-ray energy output of our reverse-shock dominated sample do not differ significantly from the general population at early times. However, the GRBs with dominant reverse shock emission have fainter than average optical forward-shock emission at late time ($>$ 10 ks). We find that GRBs with an identifiable reverse shock component show high magnetization parameter $R_{\mathrm{B}} = \varepsilon_{\rm B,r}/\varepsilon_{\rm B,f} \sim 2 - 10^4$. Our results are in agreement with the mildly magnetized baryonic jet model of GRBs.
    The Astrophysical Journal 02/2014; 785(2). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/785/2/84 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present multiwavelength observations of the afterglow of GRB 130427A, the brightest (in total fluence) gamma-ray burst of the past 29 years. Optical spectroscopy from Gemini-North reveals the redshift of the GRB to be z=0.340, indicating that its unprecedented brightness is primarily the result of its relatively close proximity to Earth; the intrinsic luminosities of both the GRB and its afterglow are not extreme in comparison to other bright GRBs. We present a large suite of multiwavelength observations spanning from 300 s to 60 d after the burst and demonstrate that the afterglow shows relatively simple, smooth evolution at all frequencies with no significant late-time flaring or rebrightening activity. The entire dataset from 1 GHz to 0.1 TeV can be modeled as synchrotron emission from a combination of reverse and forward shocks in good agreement with the standard afterglow model, providing strong support to the applicability of the underlying theory and clarifying the nature of the GeV emission observed to last for minutes to hours following other very bright GRBs. A tenuous, wind-stratified circumburst density profile is required by the observations, suggesting a massive-star progenitor with a low mass-loss rate, perhaps due to low metallicity. GRBs similar in nature to GRB 130427A, inhabiting low-density media and exhibiting strong reverse shocks, are probably not uncommon but may have been difficult to recognize in the past due to their relatively faint late-time radio emission; more such events should be found in abundance by the new generation of sensitive radio and millimeter instruments.

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