We present radio observations of the afterglow of the bright gamma-ray burst GRB 980703 made between 1 day and 1 yr after the burst. These data are combined with published late-time radio measurements and existing optical, near-infrared, and X-ray observations to create a comprehensive broadband data set for modeling the physical parameters of the outflow. While a wind-stratified medium cannot be ruled out statistically, it requires a high fraction of the shock energy in the electrons and so is not favored on theoretical grounds. Instead, the data are consistent with a fireball model in which the ejecta are collimated and expanding into a constant-density medium. The radio data cannot be fitted with an isotropic shock but instead require a jet break at ≈3.5 days, not seen at optical wavelengths because of the presence of a bright host galaxy. The addition of the full radio data set constrains the self-absorption frequency, giving an estimate of the circumburst density of n ≈ 30 cm-3, a value that differs substantially from previous estimates. This result is consistent with the growing number of GRB afterglows, for which broadband modeling yields n ≃ 0.1-100 cm -3, with a typical value of ∼10 cm-3.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science