Context. The prompt emission of gamma-ray bursts is mostly thought to be produced in internal shocks of relativistic shells emitted by the progenitor at different times, whereas the late multi-band afterglow is interpreted as the synchrotron emission of electrons swept up by the fireball expanding through the surrounding interstellar medium. The short timescale variability observed in flares superimposed on the X-ray/optical afterglow of several bursts, recently made possible by Swift, has been interpreted as evidence for prolonged activity of the inner engine through internal shocks. Yet, it is not clear whether this applies to all the observed bursts and, in particular, whether the bursts exhibiting single y-ray pulses with no short timescale variability at late times could also be entirely interpreted as external shocks. Aims. We present prompt y-ray, early NIR/optical, late optical and X-ray observations of the peculiar GRB 070311 discovered by INTEGRAL, in order to gain clues on the mechanisms responsible for the prompt y-ray pulse as well as for the early and late multi-band afterglow of GRB 070311. Methods. We fitted with empirical functions the gamma-ray and optical light curves and scaled the result to the late time X-rays. Results. The H-band light curve taken by REM shows two pulses peaking 80 and 140 s after the peak of the γ-ray burst and possibly accompanied by a faint y-ray tail. Remarkably, the late optical and X-ray afterglow underwent a major rebrightening between 3 × 104 and 2 × 10 5 s after the burst with an X-ray fluence comparable with that of the prompt emission extrapolated in the same band. Notably, the time profile of the late rebrightening can be described as the combination of a time-rescaled version of the prompt γ-ray pulse and an underlying power law. Conclusions. This result supports a common origin for both prompt and late X-ray/optical afterglow rebrightening of GRB 070311 within the external shock scenario. The main fireball would be responsible for the prompt emission, while a second shell would produce the rebrightening when impacting the leading blastwave in a refreshed shock.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science