The bright gamma-ray burst of 2000 February 10: A case study of an optically dark gamma-ray burst

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2002

  • Author: Piro, L.

  • Author: Frail, D.A.

  • Author: Gorosabel, J.

  • Author: Garmire, G.

  • Author: Soffitta, P.

  • Author: Amati, L.

  • Author: Andersen, M.I.

  • Author: Antonelli, L.A.

  • Author: Berger, E.

  • Author: Frontera, F.

  • Author: Fynbo, J.

  • Author: Gandolfi, G.

  • Author: Garcia, M.R.

  • Author: Hjorth, J.

  • Author: In't Zand, J.

  • Author: Jensen, B.L.

  • Author: Masetti, N.

  • Author: Møller, Per

    National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Lindholm, 4771, Kalvehave, Denmark

  • Author: Pedersen, H.

  • Author: Pian, E.

  • Author: Wieringa, M.H.

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The gamma-ray burst GRB 000210 had the highest gamma-ray peak flux of any event localized by BeppoSAX as yet, but it did not have a detected optical afterglow, despite prompt and deep searches down to R-lim approximate to 23.5. It is therefore one of the events recently classified as dark GRBs, whose origin is still unclear. Chandra observations allowed us to localize the X-ray afterglow of GRB 000210 to within approximate to1", and a radio transient was detected with the Very Large Array. The precise X-ray and radio positions allowed us to identify the likely host galaxy of this burst and to measure its redshift, z = 0.846. The probability that this galaxy is a field object is approximate to1.6 x 10(-2). The X-ray spectrum of the afterglow shows significant absorption in excess of the Galactic one corresponding, at the redshift of the galaxy, to N-H = (5 +/- 1) x 10(21) cm(-2). The amount of dust needed to absorb the optical flux of this object is consistent with the above H I column density, given a dust-to-gas ratio similar to that of our Galaxy. We do not find evidence for a partially ionized absorber expected if the absorption takes place in a giant molecular cloud. We therefore conclude that either the gas is local to the GRB but is condensed in small-scale high-density (n greater than or similar to 10(9) cm(-3)) clouds, or the GRB is located in a dusty, gas-rich region of the Galaxy. Finally, we examine the hypothesis that GRB 000210 lies at z greater than or similar to 5 (and therefore that the optical flux is extinguished by Lyalpha forest clouds), but we conclude that the X-ray absorbing medium would have to be substantially thicker from that observed in GRBs with optical afterglows.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)680-690
StatePublished - 2002


  • gamma-rays : bursts, cosmology : observations
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ID: 2944420