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An infrared flash contemporaneous with the gamma-rays of GRB 041219a

An infrared flash contemporaneous with the gamma-rays of GRB 041219a

Publication date: 13 May 2005

Authors: Blake, C.H., et al.

Journal: Nature
Volume: 435
Page: 181-184
Year: 2005

Copyright: Nature Publishing Group

The explosion that results in a cosmic gamma-ray burst (GRB) is thought to produce emission from two physical processes: the central engine gives rise to the high-energy emission of the burst through internal shocking, and the subsequent interaction of the flow with the external environment produces long-wavelength afterglows. Although observations of afterglows continue to refine our understanding of GRB progenitors and relativistic shocks, gamma-ray observations alone have not yielded a clear picture of the origin of the prompt emission nor details of the central engine. Only one concurrent visible-light transient has been found and it was associated with emission from an external shock. Here we report the discovery of infrared emission contemporaneous with a GRB, beginning 7.2 minutes after the onset of GRB 041219a. We acquired 21 images during the active phase of the burst, yielding early multi-colour observations. Our analysis of the initial infrared pulse suggests an origin consistent with internal shocks.

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