The very faint K-band afterglow of GRB 020819 and the dust extinction hypothesis of the dark bursts



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Klose, S. and Henden, A. A. and Greiner, J. and Hartmann, D. H. and Cardiel López, Nicolás and Castro Tirado, A. J. and Cerón, J. M. C. and Gallego Maestro, Jesús and Gorosabel, J. and Stecklum, B. and Tanvir, N. and Thiele, U. and Vrba, F. J. and Zeh, A. (2003) The very faint K-band afterglow of GRB 020819 and the dust extinction hypothesis of the dark bursts. Astrophysical journal, 592 (2). pp. 1025-1034. ISSN 0004-637X

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We report rapid follow-up K'-band observations of the error box of the bright High Energy Transient Explorer burst GRB 020819. We find that any afterglow was fainter than K' = 19 only 9 hr after the burst. Because no optical afterglow was found, GRB 020819 represents a typical "dark burst.'' At first, we discuss if extinction by cosmic dust in the GRB host galaxy could explain the faintness of the afterglow of GRB 020819. We then turn to the entire ensemble of K-band dark afterglows. We find that extinction by cosmic dust in the GRB host galaxies is still a possible explanation for the faintness of many afterglows. In all investigated cases a combination of only a modest extinction with a modest redshift can explain the observations. However, the required extinction is very high if these bursts occurred at redshifts smaller than unity, perhaps arguing for alternative models to explain the nature of the dark bursts.

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© 2003. The American Astronomical Society. This work was based on data obtained on the German Spanish Astronomical Centre, Calar Alto, operated by the Max-Planck-Institut for Astronomy, Heidelberg, jointly with the Spanish National Commission for Astronomy. It has profited from the GCN data base at NASA maintained by Scott Barthelmy, NASA. This paper is partly based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, La Silla and Paranal, Chile (ESO Programme 165.H- 0464). We thank the observers and the staff at ESO for performing the SOFI and the ISAAC observations. This study has made use of the SIMBAD database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France. S. K. acknowledges helpful comments by Johan Fynbo, Jens Hjorth, Attila Mészáros, Holger Pedersen, and Paul Vreeswijk. J. M. C. C. acknowledges the receipt of a FPI doctoral fellowship from Spain’s Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología. We thank an anonymous referee for a prompt and very helpful reply.

Uncontrolled Keywords:Gamma-ray burst; Optical afterglow; Host galaxy; Luminosity function; Star-formation; Redshifts; Emission; Counterpart; GRB-980703; GRB-970828
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Astrophysics
Sciences > Physics > Astronomy
Sciences > Physics > Atmospheric physics
ID Code:29684
Deposited On:21 Apr 2015 12:18
Last Modified:10 Dec 2018 15:05

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