Astrophys. J., 516, 683-692 (1999/May-2)
The fading optical counterpart of GRB 970228, 6 months and 1 year later.
FRUCHTER A.S., PIAN E., THORSETT S.E., BERGERON L.E., GONZALEZ R.A., METZGER M., GOUDFROOIJ P., SAHU K.C., FERGUSON H., LIVIO M., MUTCHLER M., PETRO L., FRONTERA F., GALAMA T., GROOT P., HOOK R., KOUVELIOTOU C., MACCHETTO D., VAN PARADIJS J., PALAZZI E., PEDERSEN H., SPARKS W. and TAVANI M.
Abstract (from CDS):
We report on observations of the fading optical counterpart of the gamma-ray burst GRB 970228, made with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the Keck I telescope. The gamma-ray burst (GRB) was observed approximately 6 months after outburst, on 1997 September 4, using the HST/STIS CCD, and approximately 1 year after outburst, on 1998 February 24, using HST/NICMOS, and on 1998 April 4 using the NIRC on Keck. The unresolved counterpart is detected by STIS at V=28.0±0.25, consistent with a continued power-law decline with exponent -1.10±0.05. The counterpart is located within, but near the edge of, a faint extended source with diameter ∼0".8 and integrated magnitude V=25.8±0.25. A reanalysis of HST and New Technology Telescope observations performed shortly after the burst shows no evidence of proper motion of the point source or fading of the extended emission. Although the optical transient is not detected in the NICMOS images (H≥25.3), the extended source is visible and has a total magnitude H=23.3±0.1. The Keck observations find K=22.8±0.3. Comparison with observations obtained shortly after outburst suggests that the nebular luminosity has also been stable in the infrared. We find that several distinct and independent means of deriving the foreground extinction in the direction of GRB 970228 all agree with AV=0.75±0.2. After adjusting for this Galactic extinction, we find that the size of the observed extended emission is consistent with that of galaxies of comparable magnitude found in the Hubble Deep Field (HDF) and other deep HST images. Only 2% of the sky is covered by galaxies of similar or greater surface brightness. We therefore conclude that the extended source observed about GRB 970228 is almost certainly its host galaxy. Additionally, we find that independent of assumed redshift, the host is significantly bluer than typical nearby blue dwarf irregulars. With the caveat that the presently available infrared observations of the HDF are only fully complete to a limit about one-half magnitude brighter than the host, we find that the extinction-corrected V-H and V-K colors of the host are as blue as any galaxy of comparable or brighter magnitude in the HDF. Taken in concert with recent observations of GRB 970508, GRB 971214, and GRB 980703 our work suggests that all four GRBs with spectroscopic identification or deep multicolor broadband imaging of the host lie in rapidly star-forming galaxies.
Gamma Rays: Bursts - Infrared: Galaxies
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