V. Sudilovsky

Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Arching, Bavaria, Germany

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Publications (47)120.68 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present the first reported case of the simultaneous metallicity determination of a gamma-ray burst (GRB) host galaxy, from both afterglow absorption lines as well as strong emission-line diagnostics. Using spectroscopic and imaging observations of the afterglow and host of the long-duration GRB121024A at z = 2.30, we give one of the most complete views of a GRB host/environment to date. We observe a strong damped Ly-alpha absorber (DLA) with a hydrogen column density of log N(HI) = 21.80+/-0.15, H_2 absorption in the Lyman-Werner bands (molecular fraction of log(f) ~ -1.4; fourth solid detection of molecular hydrogen in a GRB-DLA), the nebular emission lines H-alpha, H-beta, [OII], [OIII] and [NII], as well as a large variety of metal absorption lines. We find a GRB host galaxy that is highly star-forming (SFR ~ 40 Msolar/yr), with a dust-corrected metallicity along the line of sight of [Zn/H]corr = -0.5+/-0.2 ([O/H] ~ -0.3 from emission lines), and a depletion factor of refractory elements of [Zn/Fe] = 0.85+/-0.04. The molecular gas is separated by 400 km/s from the gas that is excited by the GRB (implying a fairly massive host, in agreement with the derived stellar mass of log(Mstellar/Msolar) = 9.9+/-0.2). Including emission line analysis, we isolate and characterise three different gas-phases within the star-forming host galaxy. Our main result is that the metallicity determinations from both absorption and emission lines are consistent, which is encouraging for the comparison of GRB host metallicities at different redshifts.
    09/2014;
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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.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are most probably powered by collimated relativistic outflows (jets) from accreting black holes at cosmological distances. Bright afterglows are produced when the outflow collides with the ambient medium. Afterglow polarization directly probes the magnetic properties of the jet when measured minutes after the burst, and it probes the geometric properties of the jet and the ambient medium when measured hours to days after the burst. High values of optical polarization detected minutes after the burst of GRB 120308A indicate the presence of large-scale ordered magnetic fields originating from the central engine (the power source of the GRB). Theoretical models predict low degrees of linear polarization and no circular polarization at late times, when the energy in the original ejecta is quickly transferred to the ambient medium and propagates farther into the medium as a blast wave. Here we report the detection of circularly polarized light in the afterglow of GRB 121024A, measured 0.15 days after the burst. We show that the circular polarization is intrinsic to the afterglow and unlikely to be produced by dust scattering or plasma propagation effects. A possible explanation is to invoke anisotropic (rather than the commonly assumed isotropic) electron pitch-angle distributions, and we suggest that new models are required to produce the complex microphysics of realistic shocks in relativistic jets.
    Nature 04/2014; · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Since the advent of the Swift satellite it has been possible to obtain precise localisations of GRB positions of sub-arcsec accuracy within seconds, facilitating ground-based robotic telescopes to automatically slew to the target within seconds. This has yielded a plethora of observational data for the afterglow phase of the GRB, but the quantity of data (<2 keV) covering the initial prompt emission still remains small. Only in a handful of cases has it been possible obtain simultaneous coverage of the prompt emission in a multi-wavelength regime (gamma-ray to optical), as a result of: observing the field by chance prior to the GRB (e.g. 080319B/naked-eye burst), long-prompt emission (e.g., 080928, 110205A) or triggered on a pre-cursor (e.g., 041219A, 050820A, 061121). This small selection of bursts have shown both correlated and uncorrelated gamma-ray and optical light curve behaviour, and the multi-wavelength emission mechanism remains far from resolved (i.e. single population synchrotron self-Component, electron distributions, additional neutron components or residual collisions). Such multi-wavelength observations during the GRB prompt phase are pivotal in providing further insight on the poorly understood prompt emission mechanism. We add to this small sample the Swift burst 121217A that had two distinct periods of prompt emission separated by ~700 s, observed by Swift/BAT, Swift/XRT and Fermi/GBM. As a result of the time delay of the second emission, it enabled optical imaging (from 3 to 7 bands) to be taken with the GROND instrument to a resolution as fine as 10s. This multi-wavelength data will hopefully allow us to shed more light on the current picture of prompt emission physics.
    12/2013;
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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.
    12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: In the past few years the number of well-sampled optical to NIR light curves of long Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) has greatly increased particularly due to simultaneous multi-band imagers such as GROND. Combining these densely sampled ground-based data sets with the Swift UVOT and XRT space observations unveils a much more complex afterglow evolution than what was predicted by the most commonly invoked theoretical models. GRB 100814A represents a remarkable example of these interesting well-sampled events, showing a prominent late-time rebrightening in the optical to NIR bands and a complex spectral evolution. This represents a unique laboratory to test the different afterglow emission models. Here we study the nature of the complex afterglow emission of GRB 100814A in the framework of different theoretical models. Moreover, we compare the late-time chromatic rebrightening with those observed in other well-sampled long GRBs. We analysed the optical and NIR observations obtained with the seven-channel Gamma-Ray burst Optical and Near-infrared Detector at the 2.2 m MPG/ESO telescope together with the X-ray and UV data detected by the instruments onboard the Swift observatory. The broad-band afterglow evolution, achieved by constructing multi-instrument light curves and spectral energy distributions, will be discussed in the framework of different theoretical models. We find that the standard models that describe the broad-band afterglow emission within the external shock scenario fail to describe the complex evolution of GRB 100814A, and therefore more complex scenarios must be invoked. [abridged]
    12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We use high--quality, multi-band observations of Swift GRB120404A, from gamma-ray to radio frequencies, together with the new hydrodynamics code of van Eerten et al. (2012) to test the standard synchrotron shock model. The evolution of the radio and optical afterglow, with its prominent optical rebrightening at t_rest 260-2600 s, is remarkably well modelled by a decelerating jet viewed close to the jet edge, combined with some early re-energization of the shock. We thus constrain the geometry of the jet with half-opening and viewing angles of 23 and 21 deg respectively and suggest that wide jets viewed off-axis are more common in GRBs than previously thought. We also derive the fireball microphysics parameters epsilon_B=2.4e-4 and epsilon_e=9.3e-2 and a circumburst density of n=240 cm^-3. The ability to self-consistently model the microphysics parameters and jet geometry in this way offers an alternative to trying to identify elusive canonical jet breaks at late times. The mismatch between the observed and model-predicted X-ray fluxes is explained by the local rather than the global cooling approximation in the synchrotron radiation model, constraining the microphysics of particle acceleration taking place in a relativistic shock and, in turn, emphasising the need for a more realistic treatment of cooling in future developments of theoretical models. Finally, our interpretation of the optical peak as due to the passage of the forward shock synchrotron frequency highlights the importance of high quality multi-band data to prevent some optical peaks from being erroneously attributed to the onset of fireball deceleration.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 11/2013; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: B2 1023+25 is an extremely radio-loud quasar at z=5.3 which was first identified as a likely high-redshift blazar candidate in the SDSS+FIRST quasar catalog. Here we use the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) to investigate its non-thermal jet emission, whose high-energy component we detected in the hard X-ray energy band. The X-ray flux is ~5.5x10^(-14) erg cm^(-2)s^(-1) (5-10keV) and the photon spectral index is Gamma_X=1.3-1.6. Modeling the full spectral energy distribution, we find that the jet is oriented close to the line of sight, with a viewing angle of ~3deg, and has significant Doppler boosting, with a large bulk Lorentz factor ~13, which confirms the identification of B2 1023+25 as a blazar. B2 1023+25 is the first object at redshift larger than 5 detected by NuSTAR, demonstrating the ability of NuSTAR to investigate the early X-ray Universe and to study extremely active supermassive black holes located at very high redshift.
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2013; 777(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Metallicity is theoretically thought to be a fundamental driver in gamma-ray burst (GRB) explosions and energetics, but is still, even after more than a decade of extensive studies, not fully understood. This is largely related to two phenomena: a dust-extinction bias, that prevented high-mass and thus likely high-metallicity GRB hosts to be detected in the first place, and a lack of efficient instrumentation, that limited spectroscopic studies including metallicity measurements to the low-redshift end of the GRB host population. The subject of this work is the very energetic GRB 110918A, for which we measure a redshift of z=0.984. GRB 110918A gave rise to a luminous afterglow with an intrinsic spectral slope of b=0.70, which probed a sight-line with little extinction (A_V=0.16 mag) typical of the established distributions of afterglow properties. Photometric and spectroscopic follow-up observations of the galaxy hosting GRB 110918A, including optical/NIR photometry with GROND and spectroscopy with VLT/X-shooter, however, reveal an all but average GRB host in comparison to the z~1 galaxies selected through similar afterglows to date. It has a large spatial extent with a half-light radius of ~10 kpc, the highest stellar mass for z<1.9 (log(M_*/M_sol) = 10.68+-0.16), and an Halpha-based star formation rate of 41 M_sol/yr. We measure a gas-phase extinction of ~1.8 mag through the Balmer decrement and one of the largest host-integrated metallicities ever of around solar (12 + log(O/H) = 8.93+/-0.13). This presents one of the very few robust metallicity measurements of GRB hosts at z~1, and establishes that GRB hosts at z~1 can also be very metal rich. It conclusively rules out a metallicity cut-off in GRB host galaxies and argues against an anti-correlation between metallicity and energy release in GRBs.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 06/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the discovery of molecular hydrogen (H_2), including the presence of vibrationally-excited H_2^* in the optical spectrum of the afterglow of GRB 120815A at z=2.36 obtained with X-shooter at the VLT. Simultaneous photometric broad-band data from GROND and X-ray observations by Swift/XRT place further constraints on the amount and nature of dust along the sightline. The galactic environment of GRB 120815A is characterized by a strong DLA with log(N(H)/cm^-2) = 21.95 +/- 0.10, prominent H_2 absorption in the Lyman-Werner bands (log(N(H_2)/cm^-2) = 20.53 +/- 0.13) and thus a molecular gas fraction log f(H_2)=-1.14 +/- 0.15. The distance d between the absorbing neutral gas and GRB 120815A is constrained via photo-excitation modeling of fine-structure and meta-stable transitions of FeII and NiII to d = 0.5 +/- 0.1 kpc. The DLA metallicity ([Zn/H] = -1.15 +/- 0.12), visual extinction (A_V < 0.15 mag) and dust depletion ([Zn/Fe] = 1.01 +/- 0.10) are intermediate between the values of well-studied, H_2-deficient GRB-DLAs observed at high spectral resolution, and the approximately solar metallicity, highly-obscured and H_2-rich GRB 080607 sightline. With respect to N(H), metallicity, as well as dust-extinction and depletion, GRB 120815A is fairly representative of the average properties of GRB-DLAs. This demonstrates that molecular hydrogen is present in at least a fraction of the more typical GRB-DLAs, and H_2 and H_2^* are probably more wide-spread among GRB-selected systems than the few examples of previous detections would suggest.
    04/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: In order to constrain the broad-band spectral energy distribution of the afterglow of GRB 100621A, dedicated observations were performed 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, in the sub-millimeter band with the large bolometer array LABOCA at APEX, and at radio frequencies with ATCA. Utilizing also Swift X-ray observations, we attempt an interpretation of the observational data within the fireball scenario. The afterglow of GRB 100621A shows a very complex temporal as well as spectral evolution. We identify three different emission components, the most spectacular one causing a sudden intensity jump about one hour after the prompt emission. The spectrum of this component is much steeper than the canonical afterglow. We interpret this component using the prescription of Vlasis et al. (2011) for a two-shell collision after the first shell has been decelerated by the circumburst medium. We use the fireball scenario to derive constraints on the microphysical parameters of the first shell. Long-term energy injection into a narrow jet seems to provide an adequate description. Another noteworthy result is the large ($A_V$ = 3.6 mag) line-of-sight host extinction of the afterglow in an otherwise extremely blue host galaxy.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 04/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is evidence of an overdensity of strong intervening MgII absorption line systems distributed along the lines of sight toward gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglows relative to quasar sight-lines. If this excess is real, one should also expect an overdensity of field galaxies around GRB sight-lines, as strong MgII tends to trace these sources. In this work, we test this expectation by calculating the two point angular correlation function of galaxies within 120'' (~470 h-171 Kpc at ⟨ z ⟩ ~ 0.4) of GRB afterglows. We compare the gamma-ray burst optical and near-infrared detector (GROND) GRB afterglow sample - one of the largest and most homogeneous samples of GRB fields - with galaxies and active galactic nuclei found in the COSMOS-30 photometric catalog. We find no significant signal of anomalous clustering of galaxies at an estimated median redshift of z ~ 0.3 around GRB sight-lines, down to KAB < 19.3. This result is contrary to the expectations from the MgII excess derived from GRB afterglow spectroscopy, although many confirmed galaxy counterparts to MgII absorbers may be too faint to detect in our sample - especially those at z > 1. We note that the addition of higher sensitivity Spitzer/IRAC or HST/WFC3 data for even a subset of our sample would increase this survey's depth by several orders of magnitude, simultaneously increasing statistics and enabling the investigation of a much larger redshift space. Table 1 is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 04/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is evidence of an overdensity of strong intervening MgII absorption line systems distributed along the lines of sight towards GRB afterglows relative to quasar sight-lines. If this excess is real, one should also expect an overdensity of field galaxies around GRB sight-lines, as strong MgII tends to trace these sources. In this work, we test this expectation by calculating the two point angular correlation function of galaxies within 120$^{\prime\prime}$ ($\sim470~h_{71}^{-1}~\mathrm{Kpc}$ at $\langle z\rangle \sim0.4$) of GRB afterglows. We compare the Gamma-ray burst Optical and Near-infrared Detector (GROND) GRB afterglow sample -- one of the largest and most homogeneous samples of GRB fields -- with galaxies and AGN found in the COSMOS-30 photometric catalog. We find no significant signal of anomalous clustering of galaxies at an estimated median redshift of $z\sim0.3$ around GRB sight-lines, down to $K_{\mathrm{AB}}<19.3$. This result is contrary to the expectations from the MgII excess derived from GRB afterglow spectroscopy, although many confirmed galaxy counterparts to MgII absorbers may be too faint to detect in our sample -- especially those at $z>1$. We note that the addition of higher sensitivity Spitzer IRAC or HST WFC3 data for even a subset of our sample would increase this survey's depth by several orders of magnitude, simultaneously increasing statistics and enabling the investigation of a much larger redshift space.}
    02/2013;
  • GRB Coordinates Network. 01/2013;
  • V. Sudilovsky, J. Greiner
    GRB Coordinates Network. 01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Using high-quality, broad-band afterglow data for GRB 091029, we test the validity of the forward-shock model for gamma-ray burst afterglows. We used multi-wavelength (NIR to X-ray) follow-up observations obtained with the GROND, BOOTES-3/YA and Stardome optical ground-based telescopes, and the UVOT and the XRT onboard the Swift satellite. To explain the almost totally decoupled light curves in the X-ray and optical/NIR domains, a two-component outflow is proposed. Several models are tested, including continuous energy injection, components with different electron energy indices and components in two different stages of spectral evolution. Only the last model can explain both the decoupled light curves with asynchronous peaks and the peculiar SED evolution. However, this model has so many unknown free parameters that we are unable to reliably confirm or disprove its validity, making the afterglow of GRB 091029 difficult to explain in the framework of the simplest fireball model.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 09/2012; 546:101. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report on follow-up observations of 20 short-duration gamma-ray bursts performed in g'r'i'z'JHKs with the seven-channel imager GROND between mid-2007 and the end of 2010. This is one of the most comprehensive data sets on GRB afterglow observations of short bursts published so far. In three cases GROND was on target within less than 10 min after the trigger, leading to the discovery of the afterglow of GRB 081226A and its faint underlying host galaxy. In addition, GROND was able to image the optical afterglow and follow the light-curve evolution in further five cases, GRBs 090305, 090426, 090510, 090927, and 100117A. In all other cases optical/NIR upper limits can be provided on the afterglow magnitudes.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 06/2012; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: For 103 Fermi/LAT blazars, photometric redshifts using spectral energy distribution fitting have been obtained. The photometry includes 13 broad-band filters from the far ultraviolet to the near-IR observed with Swift/UVOT and the multi-channel imager GROND at the MPG/ESO 2.2m telescope. Data have been taken quasi-simultaneously and the remaining source-intrinsic variability has been corrected for. (4 data files).
    VizieR Online Data Catalog. 03/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the surprisingly high metallicity measured in two absorption systems at high redshift, detected in the Very Large Telescope spectrum of the afterglow of the gamma-ray burst (GRB) GRB 090323. The two systems, at redshift z= 3.5673 and 3.5774 (separation Δv≈ 660 km s−1), are dominated by the neutral gas in the interstellar medium of the parent galaxies. From the singly ionized zinc and sulphur, we estimate oversolar metallicities of [Zn/H] =+0.29 ± 0.10 and [S/H] = +0.67 ± 0.34, in the blue and red absorber, respectively. These are the highest metallicities ever measured in galaxies at z > 3. We propose that the two systems trace two galaxies in the process of merging, whose star formation and metallicity are heightened by the interaction. This enhanced star formation might also have triggered the birth of the GRB progenitor. As typically seen in star-forming galaxies, the fine-structure absorption Si ii* is detected, both in z= 3.5774 ± 0.0005 and 3.5673 ± 0.0003. From the rest-frame ultraviolet emission in the GRB location, we derive a relatively high, not corrected for dust extinction, star formation rate ≈6 M⊙ yr−1. These properties suggest a possible connection between some high-redshift GRB host galaxies and high-z massive submillimetre galaxies, which are characterized by disturbed morphologies and high metallicities. Our result provides additional evidence that the dispersion in the chemical enrichment of the Universe at high redshift is substantial, with the existence of very metal-rich galaxies less than two billion years after the big bang.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 02/2012; 420(1):627 - 636. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The discovery of the short GRB 090510 has raised considerable attention mainly because it had a bright optical afterglow and it is among the most energetic events detected so far within the entire GRB population. The afterglow was observed with swift/UVOT and swift/XRT and evidence of a jet break around 1.5 ks after the burst has been reported in the literature, implying that after this break the optical and X-ray light curve should fade with the same decay slope. As noted by several authors, the post-break decay slope seen in the UVOT data is much shallower than the steep decay in the X-ray band, pointing to an excess of optical flux at late times. We reduced and analyzed new afterglow light-curve data obtained with the multichannel imager GROND. Based on the densely sampled data set obtained with GROND, we find that the optical afterglow of GRB 090510 did indeed enter a steep decay phase starting around 22 ks after the burst. During this time the GROND optical light curve is achromatic, and its slope is identical to the slope of the X-ray data. In combination with the UVOT data this implies that a second break must have occurred in the optical light curve around 22 ks post burst, which, however, has no obvious counterpart in the X-ray band, contradicting the interpretation that this could be another jet break. The GROND data provide the missing piece of evidence that the optical afterglow of GRB 090510 did follow a post-jet break evolution at late times.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 01/2012; · 5.08 Impact Factor