We present detailed optical, near-infrared, and radio observations of the X-ray flash 050416a obtained with Palomar and Siding Springs Observatories as well as HST and the VLA, placing this event among the best-studied X-ray flashes to date. In addition, we present an optical spectrum from Keck LRIS from which we measure the redshift of the burst, Z=0.6528. At this redshift the isotropic-equivalent prompt energy release was about 10(exp 51) erg, and using a standard afterglow synchrotron model we find that the blastwave kinetic energy is a factor of 10 larger, E-K,iso approximately equals 10 (exp 52) erg. The lack of an observed jet break to t - 20 days indicates that the opening angle is larger than 7 deg and the total beaming-corrected relativistic energy is larger than 10 exp (50) erg. We further show that the burst produced a strong radio flare at t is similar to 40 days accompanied by an observed flattening in the X-ray band which we attribute to an abrupt circumburst density jump or an episode of energy injection (either from a refreshed shock or off-axis ejecta). Late-time observations with HST show evidence for an associated supernova with peak optical luminosity roughly comparable to that of SN 1998bw. Next, we show that the host galaxy of XRF 050416a is actively forming stars at a rate of at least 2 M-solar per year with a luminosity of L-B is similar to 0.5L* and metallicity of Z is similar to 0.2-0.8 Z-solar. Finally, we discuss the nature of XRF 050416a in the context of short-hard gamma-ray bursts and under the framework of off-axis and dirty fireball models for X-ray flashes.
The Astrophysical Journal; 661; 982-994