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Structure in the early afterglow light curve of the γ-ray burst of 29 March 2003


Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are energetic explosions that for 0.01–100 s are the brightest γ-ray sources in the sky1,2. Observations of the early evolution of afterglows are expected to provide clues about the nature of the bursts, but their rapid fading has hampered such studies; some recent rapid localizations3,4,5 of bursts have improved the situation. Here we report an early detection of the very bright afterglow of the burst of 29 March 2003 (GRB030329). Our data show that, even early in the afterglow phase, the light curve shows unexpectedly complicated structures superimposed on the fading background.

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Figure 1: Light curves of the optical afterglow of GRB030329.


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This work is supported partly by a grant-in-aid from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Part of this work is supported by a Research Fellowship of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for Young Scientists (M.U. and R.I.).

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Correspondence to Makoto Uemura.

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Uemura, M., Kato, T., Ishioka, R. et al. Structure in the early afterglow light curve of the γ-ray burst of 29 March 2003. Nature 423, 843–844 (2003).

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