NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2003B-0372

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Proposal Information for 2003B-0372


PI: James Rhoads, Space Telescope Science Institute, rhoads@stsci.edu
Address: 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA

CoI: Andrew Fruchter, Space Telescope Science Institute
CoI: Michael Merrill, NOAO
CoI: J. M. Castro Ceron, STScI
CoI: Javier Gorosabel Urkia, IAA-CSIC / STScI
CoI: Jens Hjorth, U. Copenhagen
CoI: Chryssa Kouveliotou, MSFC
CoI: Andrew Levan, Leicester Univ. / STScI
CoI: Sandeep Patel, MSFC
CoI: Louis-Gregory Strolger, STScI
CoI: Nial Tanvir, U. Hertsfordshire

Title: Gamma-Ray Bursts and their Host Environments

Abstract: We request rapid optical and near-IR followup observations of gamma ray bursts (GRBs), which will exploit unique NOAO capabilities to obtain (a) rapid afterglow identifications and (b) detailed physical information on selected events. We will use the Mosaic cameras on the 4m telescopes for rapid identification of GRB afterglows. These instruments provide unsurpassed sensitivity over a field of view sufficient to follow up typical alerts from the HETE-2 spacecraft. We will identify afterglows either through 2-epoch difference imaging or from their unusual color-space properties (Rhoads 2001; Gorosabel et al 2002). Afterglow IDs from this program will provide targets for our imaging and spectroscopy programs on HST and the VLT, and for other programs. Large area near-IR imaging with ISPI, FLAMINGOS,and OSIRIS; and simultaneous multicolor imaging with SQIID will help address several open questions about GRBs and their afterglows: (1) Can present afterglow models stand up to detailed comparison with high precision spectral slope and light curve measurements? (2) Are ``dark'' GRBs without detected optical afterglows a consequence of dust absorption in the GRB environment? (3) Are observed breaks in GRB light curves truly wavelength-independent, as predicted under models of beamed burst afterglows? (4) Can IR observations find bursts at extreme redshifts?


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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