Publication: Research - peer-review › Journal article – Annual report year: 2002
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.
- gamma-rays : bursts, cosmology : observations