SDSS J124602.54 + 011318.8

A highly luminous optical transient at z = 0.385

Daniel E. Vanden Berk, Brian C. Lee, Brian C. Wilhite, John F. Beacom, Donald Q. Lamb, Annis James, Kevork Abazajian, Timothy A. McKay, Richard G. Kron, Stephen Kent, Kevin Hurley, Robert Kehoe, Jim Wren, Arne A. Eenden, Donald G. York, Donald P. Schneider, Jennifer Adelman, Jon Brinkmann, Robert J. Brunner, Istvan Csabai & 13 others Michael Harvanek, Greg S. Hennessy, Željko Ivezíc, Atsuko N. Kleinman, Scot J. Kleinman, Jurek Krzesinski, Daniel C. Long, Eric H. Neilsen, Peter R. Newman, Stephanie A. Snedden, Chris Stoughton, Douglas L. Tucker, Brian Yanny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We report the discovery of a highly luminous optical transient (OT), SDSS J124602.54 + 011318.8, associated with a galaxy at a redshift of 0.385. In this paper, we consider the possibility that the OT may be a gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglow. Three sets of images and two sets of spectra were obtained as part of the normal operations of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). In the first two image sets, observed two nights apart, the object appears as a point source at r*≈17. The third image set, observed about 410 days later, shows an extended source which is more than 2.5 mags fainter. The spectra were observed about 400 and 670 days after the first two image sets, and both show an apparently normal galaxy at a redshift of 0.385. Associating the OT with the galaxy, the absolute magnitude was Mr* = -24.8, which is over 4 mag brighter than the most luminous supernova ever measured. The spectral energy distributions of the galaxy-subtracted OT derived from the first two image sets are well-fitted by single power laws with indices of ß v = -0.92 and -1.29, respectively, similar to most GRB afterglows. Based upon the luminosity of the OT, nondetections in contemporaneous ROTSE I images and the change in spectral slope, the OT, if an afterglow, was likely discovered early during a plateau or slowly fading phase. The discovery of a GRB afterglow at this stage of the SDSS is consistent with expectations, but only if the optical emission is much less strongly beamed than the gamma rays. We emphasize that other explanations for the OT cannot be ruled out; a recent follow-up study by Gal-Yam et al. (2002) provides strong evidence that this source is in fact an unusual active galactic nucleus (AGN).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-678
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume576
Issue number2 I
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 10 2002

Fingerprint

afterglows
gamma ray bursts
galaxies
fading
spectral energy distribution
active galactic nuclei
night
point sources
point source
light emission
supernovae
plateaus
power law
luminosity
plateau
gamma rays
slopes
energy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Vanden Berk, D. E., Lee, B. C., Wilhite, B. C., Beacom, J. F., Lamb, D. Q., James, A., ... Yanny, B. (2002). SDSS J124602.54 + 011318.8: A highly luminous optical transient at z = 0.385. Astrophysical Journal, 576(2 I), 673-678. https://doi.org/10.1086/341887
Vanden Berk, Daniel E. ; Lee, Brian C. ; Wilhite, Brian C. ; Beacom, John F. ; Lamb, Donald Q. ; James, Annis ; Abazajian, Kevork ; McKay, Timothy A. ; Kron, Richard G. ; Kent, Stephen ; Hurley, Kevin ; Kehoe, Robert ; Wren, Jim ; Eenden, Arne A. ; York, Donald G. ; Schneider, Donald P. ; Adelman, Jennifer ; Brinkmann, Jon ; Brunner, Robert J. ; Csabai, Istvan ; Harvanek, Michael ; Hennessy, Greg S. ; Ivezíc, Željko ; Kleinman, Atsuko N. ; Kleinman, Scot J. ; Krzesinski, Jurek ; Long, Daniel C. ; Neilsen, Eric H. ; Newman, Peter R. ; Snedden, Stephanie A. ; Stoughton, Chris ; Tucker, Douglas L. ; Yanny, Brian. / SDSS J124602.54 + 011318.8 : A highly luminous optical transient at z = 0.385. In: Astrophysical Journal. 2002 ; Vol. 576, No. 2 I. pp. 673-678.
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abstract = "We report the discovery of a highly luminous optical transient (OT), SDSS J124602.54 + 011318.8, associated with a galaxy at a redshift of 0.385. In this paper, we consider the possibility that the OT may be a gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglow. Three sets of images and two sets of spectra were obtained as part of the normal operations of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). In the first two image sets, observed two nights apart, the object appears as a point source at r*≈17. The third image set, observed about 410 days later, shows an extended source which is more than 2.5 mags fainter. The spectra were observed about 400 and 670 days after the first two image sets, and both show an apparently normal galaxy at a redshift of 0.385. Associating the OT with the galaxy, the absolute magnitude was Mr* = -24.8, which is over 4 mag brighter than the most luminous supernova ever measured. The spectral energy distributions of the galaxy-subtracted OT derived from the first two image sets are well-fitted by single power laws with indices of {\ss} v = -0.92 and -1.29, respectively, similar to most GRB afterglows. Based upon the luminosity of the OT, nondetections in contemporaneous ROTSE I images and the change in spectral slope, the OT, if an afterglow, was likely discovered early during a plateau or slowly fading phase. The discovery of a GRB afterglow at this stage of the SDSS is consistent with expectations, but only if the optical emission is much less strongly beamed than the gamma rays. We emphasize that other explanations for the OT cannot be ruled out; a recent follow-up study by Gal-Yam et al. (2002) provides strong evidence that this source is in fact an unusual active galactic nucleus (AGN).",
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Vanden Berk, DE, Lee, BC, Wilhite, BC, Beacom, JF, Lamb, DQ, James, A, Abazajian, K, McKay, TA, Kron, RG, Kent, S, Hurley, K, Kehoe, R, Wren, J, Eenden, AA, York, DG, Schneider, DP, Adelman, J, Brinkmann, J, Brunner, RJ, Csabai, I, Harvanek, M, Hennessy, GS, Ivezíc, Ž, Kleinman, AN, Kleinman, SJ, Krzesinski, J, Long, DC, Neilsen, EH, Newman, PR, Snedden, SA, Stoughton, C, Tucker, DL & Yanny, B 2002, 'SDSS J124602.54 + 011318.8: A highly luminous optical transient at z = 0.385', Astrophysical Journal, vol. 576, no. 2 I, pp. 673-678. https://doi.org/10.1086/341887

SDSS J124602.54 + 011318.8 : A highly luminous optical transient at z = 0.385. / Vanden Berk, Daniel E.; Lee, Brian C.; Wilhite, Brian C.; Beacom, John F.; Lamb, Donald Q.; James, Annis; Abazajian, Kevork; McKay, Timothy A.; Kron, Richard G.; Kent, Stephen; Hurley, Kevin; Kehoe, Robert; Wren, Jim; Eenden, Arne A.; York, Donald G.; Schneider, Donald P.; Adelman, Jennifer; Brinkmann, Jon; Brunner, Robert J.; Csabai, Istvan; Harvanek, Michael; Hennessy, Greg S.; Ivezíc, Željko; Kleinman, Atsuko N.; Kleinman, Scot J.; Krzesinski, Jurek; Long, Daniel C.; Neilsen, Eric H.; Newman, Peter R.; Snedden, Stephanie A.; Stoughton, Chris; Tucker, Douglas L.; Yanny, Brian.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 576, No. 2 I, 10.09.2002, p. 673-678.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - SDSS J124602.54 + 011318.8

T2 - A highly luminous optical transient at z = 0.385

AU - Vanden Berk, Daniel E.

AU - Lee, Brian C.

AU - Wilhite, Brian C.

AU - Beacom, John F.

AU - Lamb, Donald Q.

AU - James, Annis

AU - Abazajian, Kevork

AU - McKay, Timothy A.

AU - Kron, Richard G.

AU - Kent, Stephen

AU - Hurley, Kevin

AU - Kehoe, Robert

AU - Wren, Jim

AU - Eenden, Arne A.

AU - York, Donald G.

AU - Schneider, Donald P.

AU - Adelman, Jennifer

AU - Brinkmann, Jon

AU - Brunner, Robert J.

AU - Csabai, Istvan

AU - Harvanek, Michael

AU - Hennessy, Greg S.

AU - Ivezíc, Željko

AU - Kleinman, Atsuko N.

AU - Kleinman, Scot J.

AU - Krzesinski, Jurek

AU - Long, Daniel C.

AU - Neilsen, Eric H.

AU - Newman, Peter R.

AU - Snedden, Stephanie A.

AU - Stoughton, Chris

AU - Tucker, Douglas L.

AU - Yanny, Brian

PY - 2002/9/10

Y1 - 2002/9/10

N2 - We report the discovery of a highly luminous optical transient (OT), SDSS J124602.54 + 011318.8, associated with a galaxy at a redshift of 0.385. In this paper, we consider the possibility that the OT may be a gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglow. Three sets of images and two sets of spectra were obtained as part of the normal operations of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). In the first two image sets, observed two nights apart, the object appears as a point source at r*≈17. The third image set, observed about 410 days later, shows an extended source which is more than 2.5 mags fainter. The spectra were observed about 400 and 670 days after the first two image sets, and both show an apparently normal galaxy at a redshift of 0.385. Associating the OT with the galaxy, the absolute magnitude was Mr* = -24.8, which is over 4 mag brighter than the most luminous supernova ever measured. The spectral energy distributions of the galaxy-subtracted OT derived from the first two image sets are well-fitted by single power laws with indices of ß v = -0.92 and -1.29, respectively, similar to most GRB afterglows. Based upon the luminosity of the OT, nondetections in contemporaneous ROTSE I images and the change in spectral slope, the OT, if an afterglow, was likely discovered early during a plateau or slowly fading phase. The discovery of a GRB afterglow at this stage of the SDSS is consistent with expectations, but only if the optical emission is much less strongly beamed than the gamma rays. We emphasize that other explanations for the OT cannot be ruled out; a recent follow-up study by Gal-Yam et al. (2002) provides strong evidence that this source is in fact an unusual active galactic nucleus (AGN).

AB - We report the discovery of a highly luminous optical transient (OT), SDSS J124602.54 + 011318.8, associated with a galaxy at a redshift of 0.385. In this paper, we consider the possibility that the OT may be a gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglow. Three sets of images and two sets of spectra were obtained as part of the normal operations of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). In the first two image sets, observed two nights apart, the object appears as a point source at r*≈17. The third image set, observed about 410 days later, shows an extended source which is more than 2.5 mags fainter. The spectra were observed about 400 and 670 days after the first two image sets, and both show an apparently normal galaxy at a redshift of 0.385. Associating the OT with the galaxy, the absolute magnitude was Mr* = -24.8, which is over 4 mag brighter than the most luminous supernova ever measured. The spectral energy distributions of the galaxy-subtracted OT derived from the first two image sets are well-fitted by single power laws with indices of ß v = -0.92 and -1.29, respectively, similar to most GRB afterglows. Based upon the luminosity of the OT, nondetections in contemporaneous ROTSE I images and the change in spectral slope, the OT, if an afterglow, was likely discovered early during a plateau or slowly fading phase. The discovery of a GRB afterglow at this stage of the SDSS is consistent with expectations, but only if the optical emission is much less strongly beamed than the gamma rays. We emphasize that other explanations for the OT cannot be ruled out; a recent follow-up study by Gal-Yam et al. (2002) provides strong evidence that this source is in fact an unusual active galactic nucleus (AGN).

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Vanden Berk DE, Lee BC, Wilhite BC, Beacom JF, Lamb DQ, James A et al. SDSS J124602.54 + 011318.8: A highly luminous optical transient at z = 0.385. Astrophysical Journal. 2002 Sep 10;576(2 I):673-678. https://doi.org/10.1086/341887