Gamma Ray Burst Followup at NOAO

Recent developments in gamma ray and X-ray satellites (especially the BeppoSAX satellite, with additional contributions from many sources including the Burst and Transient Source Experiment on the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the Rossi X-ray Timing Experiment) have made high precision spatial positions for gamma ray bursts (GRBs) available within hours of the burst. This has in turn allowed X-ray, optical, and radio counterparts of gamma-ray bursts to be observed for the first time.

This page contains basic information about optical/NIR followup efforts for GRBs at the Kitt Peak National Observatory and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.

Followup efforts have been done by several groups using a range of instruments, beginning notably with Howard Bond's identification of the optical afterglow of GRB 970508 with the KPNO 0.9m telescope. Details for several bursts are given below. Many of these are results of an optical followup program based at KPNO from 1997 to 1999, using primarily the 0.9 meter telescope with optical imagers. This group included James Rhoads, Nigel Sharp, Buell Jannuzi, Art Code, and Arjun Dey, and benefitted from discussions with others at NOAO as well.

Additionally, a group based in Huntsville (PI Chryssa Kouveliotou) has ongoing NOAO queue time on the 3.5 meter WIYN telescope (6.7 arcminute field) and recently obtained deep upper limits on optical counterparts to GRB 011030.

The NOAO Deep Widefield Survey team, including Buell Jannuzi, Arjun Dey, and Michael Brown, has been active in Target-of-Opportunity observations during their telescope time. Most recently, this means deep multi-band observations of GRB 011121 obtained by Michael Brown with the 4m CTIO Blanco telescope and Mosaic 2 imager.

Finally, near-infrared followup of several bursts has been obtained under a near-IR Target of Opportunity program at KPNO and CTIO. This collaboration includes James Rhoads, Andy Fruchter, Ingunn Burud, and Michael Merrill, and has received valuable support over the years from several CTIO astronomers including Nick Suntzeff, Brooke Gregory, Bob Blum, and Chris Smith.

Gamma ray burst locations are available through the GRB Coordinates Network (GCN), organized by Scott Barthelmy and others at Goddard Space Flight Center. The GCN also provides a clearinghouse for burst followup reports. Finally, some current burst information may also be available from the Astronomer's Telegram site.

We have followed up several gamma ray bursts. Links for most of these are provided below on a burst-by-burst basis.

Data Release Policy

The NOAO optical collaboration (1997-1999) tried to make results available to the community as soon as we are confident of their reliability, and subject to mutual agreement with external collaborators.

The NDWFS is a public survey and has similar policies.

Links to images for bursts observed so far by these collaborations are given below.

Requested acknowledgements

Publically available results should be appropriately acknowledged in all publications. A specific acknowledgement will be suggested on the web page for each burst, as data become available. These may look something like the following formula, which is based on the KPNO acknowledements:

This work uses photometry obtained by the Kitt Peak National Observatory followup team for GRB < burst ID > (< list of peoples' names >) using the KPNO 0.9 meter and WIYN telescopes.
Kitt Peak National Observatory, National Optical Astronomy Observatories, is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
The WIYN Observatory is a joint facility of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Indiana University, Yale University, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatories.

Links for Individual Bursts

Burst 970616

Burst 970828

Burst 971024

Burst 971214 (including our first identified afterglow photons).

Burst 971227

Burst 980326

Burst 980329

Burst 980519

Burst 980703

Burst 981220

Burst 981226

Burst 990123

Burst 990316

Burst 011121

Conference presentations

Here is a draft poster for the Fourth Huntsville Gamma Ray Burst Symposium, in postscript format.

Here is the draft writeup for the Conference Proceedings.

Related Sites:

The GRB Coordinates Network (GCN)
J. Greiner's extremely useful web compilation of published circulars, etc sorted by burst


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

jrhoads@noao.edu / mbrown@noao.edu - Last updated: 29 Nov 2001