A link between prompt optical and prompt gamma-ray emission in gamma-ray bursts.
ABSTRACT The prompt optical emission that arrives with the gamma-rays from a cosmic gamma-ray burst (GRB) is a signature of the engine powering the burst, the properties of the ultra-relativistic ejecta of the explosion, and the ejecta's interactions with the surroundings. Until now, only GRB 990123 had been detected at optical wavelengths during the burst phase. Its prompt optical emission was variable and uncorrelated with the prompt gamma-ray emission, suggesting that the optical emission was generated by a reverse shock arising from the ejecta's collision with surrounding material. Here we report prompt optical emission from GRB 041219a. It is variable and correlated with the prompt gamma-rays, indicating a common origin for the optical light and the gamma-rays. Within the context of the standard fireball model of GRBs, we attribute this new optical component to internal shocks driven into the burst ejecta by variations of the inner engine. The correlated optical emission is a direct probe of the jet isolated from the medium. The timing of the uncorrelated optical emission is strongly dependent on the nature of the medium.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Derek Hullinger, May 07, 2015
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ABSTRACT: The mechanism that causes the prompt-emission episode of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) is still widely debated despite there being thousands of prompt detections. The favoured internal shock model relates this emission to synchrotron radiation. However, it does not always explain the spectral indices of the shape of the spectrum, often fit with empirical functions. Multi-wavelength observations are therefore required to help investigate the possible underlying mechanisms that causes the prompt emission. We present GRB 121217A, for which we were able to observe its near-infrared (NIR) emission during a secondary prompt-emission episode with the Gamma-Ray Burst Optical Near-infrared Detector (GROND) in combination with the Swift and Fermi satellites, covering an energy range of 0.001 keV to 100 keV. We determine a photometric redshift of z=3.1+/-0.1 with a line-of-sight extinction of A_V~0 mag, utilising the optical/NIR SED. From the afterglow, we determine a bulk Lorentz factor of Gamma~250 and an emission radius of R<10^18 cm. The prompt-emission broadband spectral energy distribution is well fit with a broken power law with b1=-0.3+/-0.1, b2=0.6+/-0.1 that has a break at E=6.6+/-0.9 keV, which can be interpreted as the maximum injection frequency. Self-absorption by the electron population below energies of E_a<6 keV suggest a magnetic field strength of B~10^5 G. However, all the best fit models underpredict the flux observed in the NIR wavelengths, which also only rebrightens by a factor of ~2 during the second prompt emission episode, in stark contrast to the X-ray emission, which rebrightens by a factor of ~100, suggesting an afterglow component is dominating the emission. We present GRB 121217A one of the few GRBs for which there are multi-wavelength observations of the prompt-emission period and show that it can be understood with a synchrotron radiation model.Astronomy and Astrophysics 12/2013; 562. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201322600 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Prompt or early optical emission in gamma-ray bursts is notoriously difficult to measure, and observations of the dozen cases show a large variety of properties. Yet, such early emission promises to help us achieve a better understanding of the GRB emission process(es). We performed dedicated observations of the ultra-long duration (T90 about 7000 s) GRB 130925A in the optical/near-infrared with the 7-channel "Gamma-Ray Burst Optical and Near-infrared Detector" (GROND) at the 2.2m MPG/ESO telescope. We detect an optical/NIR flare with an amplitude of nearly 2 mag which is delayed with respect to the keV--MeV prompt emission by about 300--400 s. The decay time of this flare is shorter than the duration of the flare (500 s) or its delay. While we cannot offer a straightforward explanation, we discuss the implications of the flare properties and suggest ways toward understanding it.Astronomy and Astrophysics 07/2014; 568. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201424250 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We provide a comprehensive review of major developments in our understanding of gamma-ray bursts, with particular focus on the discoveries made within the last fifteen years when their true nature was uncovered. We describe the observational properties of photons from the radio to multi-GeV bands, both in the prompt emission and the afterglow phases. Mechanisms for the generation of these photons in GRBs are discussed and confronted with observations to shed light on the physical properties of these explosions, their progenitor stars and the surrounding medium. After presenting observational evidence that a powerful, collimated, jet moving at close to the speed of light is produced in these explosions, we describe our current understanding regarding the generation, acceleration, and dissipation of the jet and compare these properties with jets associated with AGNs and pulsars. We discuss mounting observational evidence that long duration GRBs are produced when massive stars die, and that at least some short duration bursts are associated with old, roughly solar mass, compact stars. The question of whether a black-hole or a strongly magnetized, rapidly rotating neutron star is produced in these explosions is also discussed. We provide a brief summary of what we have learned about relativistic collisionless shocks and particle acceleration from GRB afterglow studies, and discuss the current understanding of radiation mechanism during the prompt emission phase. We discuss theoretical predictions of possible high-energy neutrino emission from GRBs and the current observational constraints. Finally, we discuss how these explosions may be used to study cosmology, e.g. star formation, metal enrichment, reionization history, as well as the formation of first stars and galaxies in the universe.Physics Reports 10/2014; 561. DOI:10.1016/j.physrep.2014.09.008 · 22.91 Impact Factor