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The Afterglows, Redshifts, and Properties of Swift Gamma-Ray Bursts

By SpaceRef Editor
July 9, 2005
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Astrophysics, abstract

From: Edo Berger [view email]
Date: Fri, 6 May 2005 19:31:48 GMT (51kb)

The Afterglows, Redshifts, and Properties of Swift Gamma-Ray Bursts

E. Berger,
S. R. Kulkarni,
D. B. Fox,
A. M. Soderberg,
F. A. Harrison,
E. Nakar,
D. D. Kelson,
M. D. Gladders,
J. S. Mulchaey,
A. Oemler,
A. Dressler,
S. B. Cenko,
P. A. Price,
B. P. Schmidt,
D. A. Frail,
N. Morrell,
S. Gonzalez,
W. Krzeminski,
R. Sari,
A. Gal-Yam,
D.-S. Moon,
B. E. Penprase,
R. Jayawardhana,
A. Scholz,
J. Rich,
B. A. Peterson,
G. Anderson,
R. McNaught,
T. Minezaki,
Y. Yoshii,
L. L. Cowie,
K. Pimbblet

Comments: Submitted to ApJ; 15 pages, 8 figures, 1 table

We present optical, near-IR, and radio follow up of sixteen Swift bursts,
including our discovery of nine afterglows and a redshift determination for
three. These observations, supplemented by data from the literature, provide an
afterglow recovery rate of 60% in the optical/near-IR, much higher than in
previous missions (BeppoSAX, HETE-2, INTEGRAL, and IPN). The optical/near-IR
afterglows of Swift events are on average 1.7 mag fainter at t=12 hr than those
of previous missions. The X-ray afterglows are similarly fainter compared to
those of pre-Swift bursts. In the radio the limiting factor is the VLA
threshold and the detection rate for Swift bursts is similar to that for past
missions. The redshift distribution of pre-Swift bursts peaked at z~1, whereas
the five Swift bursts with measured redshifts are distributed evenly between
1.3 and 3.2. From these results we conclude that (i) the pre-Swift
distributions were biased in favor of bright events and low redshift events,
(ii) the higher sensitivity and accurate positions of Swift result in a better
representation of the true burst redshift and brightness distributions (which
are higher and dimmer, respectively), and (iii) as many as 1/3 of the bursts
can be optically dark, as a result of a high redshift and/or dust extinction.
We remark that the apparent lack of low redshift, low luminosity Swift bursts,
and the lower event rate compared to pre-launch estimates (90 vs. 150 per
year), are the result of a threshold that is similar to that of BATSE. In view
of these inferences, afterglow observers may find it advisable to make
significant changes in follow up strategies of Swift events. [abridged]

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