Searching for needles in Haystacks–Looking for gamma-ray burst γ-rays with the Fermi/LAT detector.
AKERLOF C.W., ZHENG W., PANDEY S.B. and McKAY T.A.
Abstract (from CDS):
Since the launch of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope on 2008 June 11, 55 gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have been observed at coordinates that fall within 66° of the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) boresight with precise localizations provided by the NASA Swift mission or other satellites. Imposing selection cuts to exclude low Galactic latitudes and high zenith angles reduces the sample size to 41. Using matched filter techniques, the Fermi/LAT photon data for these fields have been examined for evidence of bursts that have so far evaded detection at energies above 100 MeV. Following comparisons with similar random background fields, two events, GRB 080905A and GRB 091208B, stand out as excellent candidates for such an identification. After excluding the six bright bursts previously reported by the LAT team, the remaining 35 events exhibit an excess of LAT "diffuse" photons with a statistical significance greater than 2σ, independent of the matched filter analysis. After accounting for the total number of photons in the well-localized fields and including estimates of detection efficiency, one concludes that somewhere in the range of 11%-19% of all GRBs within the LAT field of view illuminate the detector with two or more energetic photons. These are the most stringent estimates of the high-energy photon content of GRBs to date. The two new events associated with high-energy photon emission have similar ratios of high- to low-energy fluences as observed previously. This separates them from bursts with similar low-energy fluences by a factor of 10, suggesting a distinct class of events rather than a smooth continuum.