NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2016B-0165

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Program Information for 2016B-0165


PI: Eleonora Troja, U. of Maryland, eleonora.troja@nasa.gov
Address: College Park, MD United States

CoI: Nat Butler, Arizona State U.
CoI: Stefano Covino, INAF Merate
CoI: Josefa Becerra, U. of Maryland
CoI: Amy Lien, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
CoI: Neil Gehrels, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
CoI: Nobuyuki Kawai, Tokyo Institute of Technology
CoI: William Lee, UNAM
CoI: Alan Watson, UNAM
CoI: Takanori Sakamoto, Aoyama University
CoI: Donatella Cea, U. of Maryland

Title: Unveiling the elusive progenitors of short duration gamma-ray bursts

Abstract: The afterglow of some short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) displays a late-time rebrightening, visible a few days after the burst. Recent HST observations provided tantalizing evidence that such late-time bump could be explained as the emergence of the underlying kilonova emission. This would represent the incontrovertible signature of a neutron star merger, and the first direct link between short GRBs and their progenitors. It would also confirm that neutron star mergers are significant and possibly dominant sources of the heaviest elements (e.g. gold, platinum, uranium) in the Universe. Although the red color and faint nature of the kilonova require the sensitivity of HST, early-time Gemini observations are critical in order to precisely localize the burst, characterize its temporal evolution, determine its host galaxy morphology and distance scale. Here we propose to complement our approved HST program to search for kilonovae with rapid Gemini Target of Opportunity observations. The proposed observations will provide the smoking gun evidence connecting short GRBs and neutron star mergers, and will serve as a powerful observational input in the new era of gravitational wave astronomy.

Program Type: Standard/Extragalactic

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2016B):  GEM-SQ/GMOSS -- 1.9hrs band 1 (GS-2016B-Q-28)
Run 2 (2016B):  GEM-NQ/GMOSN -- 1.9hrs band 1 (GN-2016B-Q-29)


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2016B-0165

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