Broadband observations of the naked-eye γ-ray burst GRB 080319B

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Long-duration γ-ray bursts (GRBs) release copious amounts of energy across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, and so provide a window into the process of black hole formation from the collapse of massive stars. Previous early optical observations of even the most exceptional GRBs (990123 and 030329) lacked both the temporal resolution to probe the optical flash in detail and the accuracy needed to trace the transition from the prompt emission within the outflow to external shocks caused by interaction with the progenitor environment. Here we report observations of the extraordinarily bright prompt optical and γ-ray emission of GRB 080319B that provide diagnostics within seconds of its formation, followed by broadband observations of the afterglow decay that continued for weeks. We show that the prompt emission stems from a single physical region, implying an extremely relativistic outflow that propagates within the narrow inner core of a two-component jet.

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Figure 1: Light curve of prompt emission.
Figure 2: Composite light curve.
Figure 3: Spectral energy distribution of the prompt emission.
Figure 4: Schematic diagram of the two-component jet model.


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We thank E. Rol for comments. This research was supported by NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, the Ministero dell’Università e della Ricerca (MUR), the Ministero degli Affari Esteri, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the National Science Foundation of China, the Russian Space Agency, Science and Technology and Facilities Council (STFC), the Slovenian Research Agency, the Ministry for Higher Education, Science, and Technology, Slovenia, and the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

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Correspondence to J. L. Racusin.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

This file contains Supplementary Methods describing technical descriptions of each telescope and corresponding data analysis, additional discussions and figures describing light curve and spectral energy distribution fitting, and detailed discussion of both afterglow models. It contains Supplementary References, Supplementary Acknowledgements, Supplementary Figures 1-15 and Supplementary Table 1. (PDF 3693 kb)

Supplementary Data

This file contains all light curve data presented in the paper as an ASCII text file. (TXT 835 kb)

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