Swift multi-wavelength observations of the bright flaring burst GRB 051117A

M. R. Goad, K. L. Page, O. Godet, A. Beardmore, J. P. Osborne, P. T. O'Brien, R. Starling, S. Holland, D. Band, Abraham David Falcone, N. Gehrels, David Nelson Burrows, John Andrew Nousek, P. W.A. Roming, A. Moretti, M. Perri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We report on the temporal and spectral characteristics of the early X-ray emission from the Gamma Ray Burst 051117A as observed by Swift. The superb quality of the early X-ray light-curve and spectra of this source, one of the brightest seen by the X-ray Telescope at such early times, allows an unprecedented look at the spectral and temporal evolution of the prompt and early afterglow emission for this GRB and allows us to place stringent limits on the detection of lines. GRB 051117A displays a highly complex light-curve, with an apparent initial slow decline of slope α = 0.77 ± 0.07 (f(t) ∝ t) dominated by numerous superposed flares of varying amplitude and duration. Between orbits 2 and 3, the X-ray light-curve drops abruptly, highlighting the dominance of flaring activity at early times, and indicating that the central engine for this burst remains active for several kiloseconds after the initial explosion. The late time slope (t > 10 4 s) also decays relatively slowly with a powerlaw index of α = 0.66, breaking to a steeper slope of 1.1, 170 ks after the BAT trigger. The X-ray light-curve at early times is characteristic of a noise process, consisting of random shots superposed on an underlying powerlaw decay, with individual shots well-modelled by a fast-rise and exponential decay spanning a broad range in rise-times and decay rates. A temporal spectral analysis of the early light-curve shows that the photon index and source intensity are highly correlated with the spectrum being significantly harder when brighter, consistent with the movement of the peak of the Band function to lower energies following individual flares. The high quality spectrum obtained from the first orbit of WT mode data, enables us to place a 3σ upper limit on the strength of any emission line features of EW > 15 eV, assuming a narrow emission-line of 100 eV at the peak of the effective area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Volume468
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007

Fingerprint

bursts
light curve
wavelength
wavelengths
slopes
x rays
flares
shot
decay
orbits
temporal evolution
spectral analysis
explosion
afterglows
engine
gamma ray bursts
decay rates
spectrum analysis
engines
explosions

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Goad, M. R., Page, K. L., Godet, O., Beardmore, A., Osborne, J. P., O'Brien, P. T., ... Perri, M. (2007). Swift multi-wavelength observations of the bright flaring burst GRB 051117A. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 468(1), 103-112. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20066874
Goad, M. R. ; Page, K. L. ; Godet, O. ; Beardmore, A. ; Osborne, J. P. ; O'Brien, P. T. ; Starling, R. ; Holland, S. ; Band, D. ; Falcone, Abraham David ; Gehrels, N. ; Burrows, David Nelson ; Nousek, John Andrew ; Roming, P. W.A. ; Moretti, A. ; Perri, M. / Swift multi-wavelength observations of the bright flaring burst GRB 051117A. In: Astronomy and Astrophysics. 2007 ; Vol. 468, No. 1. pp. 103-112.
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Goad, MR, Page, KL, Godet, O, Beardmore, A, Osborne, JP, O'Brien, PT, Starling, R, Holland, S, Band, D, Falcone, AD, Gehrels, N, Burrows, DN, Nousek, JA, Roming, PWA, Moretti, A & Perri, M 2007, 'Swift multi-wavelength observations of the bright flaring burst GRB 051117A', Astronomy and Astrophysics, vol. 468, no. 1, pp. 103-112. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20066874

Swift multi-wavelength observations of the bright flaring burst GRB 051117A. / Goad, M. R.; Page, K. L.; Godet, O.; Beardmore, A.; Osborne, J. P.; O'Brien, P. T.; Starling, R.; Holland, S.; Band, D.; Falcone, Abraham David; Gehrels, N.; Burrows, David Nelson; Nousek, John Andrew; Roming, P. W.A.; Moretti, A.; Perri, M.

In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 468, No. 1, 01.06.2007, p. 103-112.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Goad, M. R.

AU - Page, K. L.

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AU - Beardmore, A.

AU - Osborne, J. P.

AU - O'Brien, P. T.

AU - Starling, R.

AU - Holland, S.

AU - Band, D.

AU - Falcone, Abraham David

AU - Gehrels, N.

AU - Burrows, David Nelson

AU - Nousek, John Andrew

AU - Roming, P. W.A.

AU - Moretti, A.

AU - Perri, M.

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N2 - We report on the temporal and spectral characteristics of the early X-ray emission from the Gamma Ray Burst 051117A as observed by Swift. The superb quality of the early X-ray light-curve and spectra of this source, one of the brightest seen by the X-ray Telescope at such early times, allows an unprecedented look at the spectral and temporal evolution of the prompt and early afterglow emission for this GRB and allows us to place stringent limits on the detection of lines. GRB 051117A displays a highly complex light-curve, with an apparent initial slow decline of slope α = 0.77 ± 0.07 (f(t) ∝ t-α) dominated by numerous superposed flares of varying amplitude and duration. Between orbits 2 and 3, the X-ray light-curve drops abruptly, highlighting the dominance of flaring activity at early times, and indicating that the central engine for this burst remains active for several kiloseconds after the initial explosion. The late time slope (t > 10 4 s) also decays relatively slowly with a powerlaw index of α = 0.66, breaking to a steeper slope of 1.1, 170 ks after the BAT trigger. The X-ray light-curve at early times is characteristic of a noise process, consisting of random shots superposed on an underlying powerlaw decay, with individual shots well-modelled by a fast-rise and exponential decay spanning a broad range in rise-times and decay rates. A temporal spectral analysis of the early light-curve shows that the photon index and source intensity are highly correlated with the spectrum being significantly harder when brighter, consistent with the movement of the peak of the Band function to lower energies following individual flares. The high quality spectrum obtained from the first orbit of WT mode data, enables us to place a 3σ upper limit on the strength of any emission line features of EW > 15 eV, assuming a narrow emission-line of 100 eV at the peak of the effective area.

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Goad MR, Page KL, Godet O, Beardmore A, Osborne JP, O'Brien PT et al. Swift multi-wavelength observations of the bright flaring burst GRB 051117A. Astronomy and Astrophysics. 2007 Jun 1;468(1):103-112. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20066874