NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011B-0187

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Proposal Information for 2011B-0187


PI: Nial Tanvir, University of Leicester, nrt3@star.le.ac.uk
Address: Department of Physics and Astronomy, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, United Kingdom

CoI: Bethany Cobb, The George Washington University
CoI: Derek Fox, Pennsylvania State University
CoI: Antonino Cucchiara, UC berkeley (Astronomy)
CoI: Andrew Levan, University of Warwick
CoI: Joshua Bloom, UC Berkeley (Astronomy)
CoI: Edo Berger, Harvard University
CoI: Daniel Perley, UC Berkeley (Astronomy)
CoI: Brian Schmidt, Australian National University
CoI: Brad Cenko, UC Berkeley (Astronomy)
CoI: Chris Matzner, University of Toronto
CoI: Kathy Roth, Gemini Observatory - North
CoI: Andrew Fruchter, Space Telescope Science Institute

Title: Investigating gamma-ray bursts and their use as cosmological probes

Abstract: Rapid observations of gamma-ray bursts are critical to probing their exotic physics and using GRBs themselves as probes of the universe. Our newly merged collaboration discovered GRB090423 at z=8.2, breaking the record for the most distant known object, and continues to use Gemini to observe distant and extreme bursts, and explore the diversity of their hosts and progenitors. Our approach is to both study individual key events and build up statistical samples. Primary goals remain (i) to observe GRBs at very high-z, where they provide luminous backlights with which to explore the IGM during reionization and also a means to identify and characterise their faint hosts; (ii) to detect afterglows and measure redshifts for the class of short-duration bursts, whose nature remains enigmatic; (iii) to construct a more complete redshift sample of GRBs and constrain the evolution of the mass-metallicity relation; (iv) to observe Fermi-LAT bursts, which require redshift measurements in order to constrain theories of quantum gravity and place limits on the Lorentz factor of the outflow. Gemini is a cornerstone facility of global GRB research and we will continue to use it in combination with a large network of small telescopes and our collaborations elsewhere.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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