We imaged the error box of a gamma-ray burst of the short (0.5 s), hard type (GRB 000313), with the BOOTES-1 experiment in southern Spain, starting 4 min after the gamma-ray event, in the I-band. A bright optical transient (OT 000313) with I = 9.4 +/- 0.1 was found in the BOOTES-1 image, close to the error box (3sigma) provided by BATSE. Late time VRI K'-band deep observations failed to reveal an underlying host galaxy. If the OT 000313 is related to the short, hard GRB 000313, this would be the first optical counterpart ever found for this kind of events (all counterparts to date have been found for bursts of the long, soft type). The fact that only prompt optical emission has been detected (but no afterglow emission at all, as supported by theoretical models) might explain why no optical counterparts have ever been found for short, hard GRBs. This fact suggests that most short bursts might occur in a low-density medium and favours the models that relate them to binary mergers in very low-density environments.
|Journal||Astronomy & Astrophysics|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|
- gamma rays : bursts
- techniques : photometric
- cosmology : observations
- optical transients