NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0288

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Proposal Information for 2014A-0288


PI: Edo Berger, Harvard University, eberger@cfa.harvard.edu
Address: 13 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

CoI: Derek Fox, Pennsylvania State University
CoI: Ryan Chornock, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Wen-Fai Fong, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Bethany Cobb, The George Washington University
CoI: Brad Cenko, Goddard Space Flight Center
CoI: Daniel Perley, Caltech Astronomy
CoI: Joshua Bloom, UC Berkeley (Astronomy)
CoI: Jason X. Prochaska, UC Santa Cruz
CoI: Adam Morgan, UC Berkeley (Astronomy)
CoI: Antonino Cucchiara, Goddard Space Flight Center
CoI: Andrew Levan, University of Warwick
CoI: Nial Tanvir, University of Leicester
CoI: Andrew Fruchter, Space Telescope Science Institute
CoI: Sebastian Lopez, Universidad de Chile
CoI: Klaas Wiersema, University of Leicester
CoI: Kathy Roth, Gemini Observatory

Title: Exploring the Cosmic Dawn, Galaxy Evolution, and Exotic Stellar Deaths with Rapid GRB Follow-Up Observations

Abstract: The study of gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglows, host galaxies, and associated supernovae (SNe) sheds light on a wide range of open questions in astrophysics, ranging from the deaths of massive stars to cosmic chemical enrichment and the reionization epoch, and soon, the electromagnetic (EM) counterparts of gravitational wave (GW) sources. Over the past decade, Gemini has played a leading role in all aspects of GRB science through its combination of rapid-response spectroscopy and imaging coupled with deep late-time host galaxy, afterglow, and GRB-SN follow-up. Here, we propose to step forward in our long-standing program of ToO observations, with this proposal focusing on "Rapid ToO" science, observations at t <∼ 1 day. In conjunction with an array of multi-wavelength EM facilities, we focus on three key science topics: (1) Identification, characterization, and exploitation of high-redshift GRBs in order to study the evolving IGM and galaxy populations at these redshifts; (2) Studies of short GRB afterglows and their environments to yield insight into the nature of their progenitor population, for connection with forthcoming GW facilities; and (3) Observation of exceptionally energetic bursts detected by the Fermi-LAT instrument, to test models of burst engines and enable their use as testbeds for quantum gravity effects.


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