Broad-band optical observations of the extraordinarily bright optical afterglow of the intense gamma-rag burst GRB 991208 started similar to2.1 days after the event and continued until 4 Apr. 2000. The flux decay constant of the optic al afterglow in the R-band is -2.30 +/- 0.07 up to similar to5 days. which is very likely due to the jet effect. and it is followed by a much steeper decay with constant -3.2 +/- 0.2. the fastest one ever seen in a GRB optical afterglow. A negative detection in several all-sky films taken simultaneously with the er ent. that otherwise would have reached naked eye brightness, implies either a previous additional break prior to similar to2 days after the occurrence of the GRB (as expected from the jet effect) or a maximum, as observed in GRB 970508. The existence of a second break might indicate a steepening in the electron spectrum or the superposition of two events, resembling GRB 000301C. Once the afterglow emission vanished, contribution of a bright underlying supernova was found on the basis of the late-time R-band measurements. but the light curve is not sufficiently well sampled to rule out a dust echo explanation. Our redshift determination of z = 0.706 indicates that GRB 991208 is at 3.7 Gpc (for H-0 = 60 km s(-1) Mpc(-1), Omega (0) = 1 and Lambda (0) = 0), implying an isotropic energy release of 1.15 10(53) erg which may. be relaxed by beaming by a factor >10(2). Precise astrometry indicates that the GRB coincides within 0.2" with the host galaxy, thus supporting a massive star origin. The absolute magnitude of the galaxy is M-B = -18.2, well below the knee of the galaxy luminosity function and we derive a star-forming rate of (11.5 +/- 7.1) M-circle dot yr(-1), which is much larger than the present-day rate in our Galaxy. The quasi simultaneous broad-band photometric spectral energy distribution of the afterglow was determined similar to3.5 day after the burst (Dec. 12.0) implying a cooling frequency ve below the optical band, i.e. supporting a jet model with p = -2.30 as the index of the power-law electron distribution.
|Journal||Astronomy & Astrophysics|
|Publication status||Published - 2001|
- gamma rays : bursts
- cosmology : observations
- galaxies : general