Optical and Near-infrared Observations of the Afterglow of GRB 980329 from 15 Hours to 10 Days

The Astrophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 6.28). 01/2009; 517(2):692. DOI: 10.1086/307210
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We report I-band observations of the GRB 980329 field made on 1998 March 29 with the 1.34 m Tautenberg Schmidt telescope, R-, J- and K-band observations made on 1998 April 1 with the APO 3.5 m telescope, R- and I-band observations made on 1998 April 3 with the Mayall 4 m telescope at KPNO, and J- and K-band observations made 1998 April 6-8 with the Keck-I 10 m telescope. We show that these and other reported measurements are consistent with a power-law fading of the optical/near-infrared source that is coincident with the variable radio source VLA J0702+3850. This firmly establishes that this source is the afterglow of GRB 980329.

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    ABSTRACT: We present near-infrared (NIR) and optical observations of the afterglow of GRB 030115. Discovered in an infrared search at Kitt Peak 5 hr after the burst trigger, this afterglow is the faintest ever observed in the R band at such an early epoch and exhibits very red colors, with R - K ≈ 6. The optical magnitude of the afterglow of GRB 030115 is fainter than many upper limits for other bursts, suggesting that without early NIR observations it would have been classified as a "dark" burst. Both the color and optical magnitude of the afterglow are likely due to dust extinction at moderate redshift z > 2 and indicate that at least some optical afterglows are very faint due to dust along the line of sight. Multicolor Hubble Space Telescope observations were also taken of the host galaxy and the surrounding field. Photometric redshifts imply that the host and a substantial number of faint galaxies in the field are at z ~ 2.5. The overdensity of galaxies is sufficiently great that GRB 030115 may have occurred in a rich high-redshift cluster. The host galaxy shows extremely red colors (R - K = 5) and is the first GRB host to be classified as an extremely red object (ERO). Some of the galaxies surrounding the host also show very red colors, while the majority of the cluster are much bluer, indicating ongoing unobscured star formation. As it is thought that much of high-redshift star formation occurs in highly obscured environments, it may well be that GRB 030115 represents a transition object, between the relatively unobscured afterglows seen to date and a population of objects that are very heavily extinguished, even in the NIR.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 647(1):471. · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present V-, R-, and I-band observations made at the US Naval Observatory, Flagstaff Station, of the afterglow of GRB 980519 on UT 1998 May 20 and 22. These observations are combined with extensive data from the literature, and all are placed on a uniform magnitude system. The resultant R- and I-band light curves are fit by simple power laws with no breaks and indices of αR = 2.30 ± 0.12 and αI = 2.05 ± 0.07. This makes the afterglow of GRB 980519 one of the two steepest afterglows yet observed. The combined B-, V-, R-, and I-band observations are used to estimate the spectral power-law index, β = 1.4 ± 0.3, after correction for reddening. Unfortunately, GRB 980519 occurred at a relatively low Galactic latitude (b ≈ +15) where the Galactic reddening is poorly known and, hence, the actual value of β is poorly constrained. The observed α and range of likely β-values are, however, found to be consistent with simple relativistic blast-wave models. This afterglow and that of GRB 980326 displayed much steeper declines than the other seven well-observed afterglows, which cluster near α ≈ 1.2. GRB 980519 and GRB 980326 did not display burst characteristics in common that might distinguish them from the gamma-ray bursts with more typical light curves.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 528(1):254. · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present radio observations of the afterglow of the bright γ-ray burst GRB 980329 made between 1 month and several years after the burst, a reanalysis of previously published submillimeter data, and late-time optical and near-infrared (NIR) observations of the host galaxy. From the absence of a spectral break in the optical/NIR colors of the host galaxy, we exclude the earlier suggestion that GRB 980329 lies at a redshift of z 5. We combine our data with the numerous multiwavelength observations of the early afterglow, fit a comprehensive afterglow model to the entire broadband data set, and derive fundamental physical parameters of the blast wave and its host environment. Models for which the ejecta expand isotropically require both a high circumburst density and extreme radiative losses from the shock. No low-density model (n 10 cm-3) fits the data. A burst with a total energy of ~1051 ergs, with the ejecta narrowly collimated to an opening angle of a few degrees, driven into a surrounding medium with density of ~20 cm-3, provides a satisfactory fit to the light curves over a range of redshifts.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 577(1):155. · 6.28 Impact Factor

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