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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-03-30
    Description: This issue on gamma ray astronomy presents many results from observations made with the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO) and other spaceborne experiments and includes studies of Seyfert galaxies, X-ray binaries, neutron stars, diffuse cosmic background radiation, pulsars, blazars, gamma ray bursts, the galactic center, and the distribution of Aluminum-26 in the galaxy. The issue begins with a survey of Compton Telescope (COMPTEL) results and concludes with future prospects for the field.
    Keywords: ASTRONOMY
    Type: Advances in Space Research (ISSN 0273-1177); 15; 5
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: One of the most prominent, yet controversial associations derived from the ensemble of prompt-phase observations of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) is the apparent correlation in the source frame between the peak energy (E(sub peak)) of the nuF(nu) spectrum and the isotropic radiated energy, E(sub iso). Since most gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have E(sub peak) above the energy range (15-150 keV) of the Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) on Swift, determining accurate E(sub peak) values for large numbers of Swift bursts has been difficult. However, by combining data from Swift/BAT and the Suzaku Wide-band All-Sky Monitor (WAM), which covers the energy range from 50-5000 keV, for bursts which are simultaneously detected ; one can accurately fit E(sub peak) and E(sub iso) and test the relationship between them for the Swift sample. Between the launch of Suzaku in July 2005 and the end of March 2009, there were 45 gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) which triggered both Swift/BAT and WAM and an additional 47 bursts which triggered Swift and were detected by WAM, but did not trigger. A BAT-WAM team has cross-calibrated the two instruments using GRBs, and we are now able to perform joint fits on these bursts to determine spectral parameters. For those bursts with spectroscopic redshifts.. we can also calculate the isotropic energy. Here we present the results of joint Swift/BAT-Suzaku/WAM spectral fits for 86 of the bursts detected by the two instruments. We show that the distribution of spectral fit parameters is consistent with distributions from earlier missions and confirm that Swift, bursts are consistent with earlier reported relationships between Epeak and isotropic energy. We show through time-resolved spectroscopy that individual burst pulses are also consistent with this relationship.
    Keywords: Astronomy
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: We present the results1 of the analysis of the first 9 months of data of the Swift BAT survey of AGN in the 14-195 keV band. Using archival X-ray data or follow-up Swift XRT observations, we have identified 129 (103 AGN) of 130 objects detected at [b] 〉 15deg and with significance 〉 4.8-delta. One source remains unidentified. These same X-ray data have allowed measurement of the X-ray properties of the objects. We fit a power law to the logN - log S distribution, and find the slope to be 1.42+/-0.14. Characterizing the differential luminosity function data as a broken power law, we find a break luminosity logL*(ergs/s)= 43.85+/-0.26. We obtain a mean photon index 1.98 in the 14-195 keV band, with an rms spread of 0.27. Integration of our luminosity function gives a local volume density of AGN above 10(exp 41) erg/s of 2.4x10(exp -3) Mpc(sup -3), which is about 10% of the total luminous local galaxy density above M* = -19.75. We have obtained X-ray spectra from the literature and from Swift XRT follow-up observations. These show that the distribution of log nH is essentially flat from nH = 10(exp 20)/sq cm to 10(exp 24)/sq cm, with 50% of the objects having column densities of less than 10(exp 22)/sq cm. BAT Seyfert galaxies have a median redshift of 0.03, a maximum log luminosity of 45.1, and approximately half have log nH 〉 22.
    Keywords: Astronomy
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: We present first INTEGRAL and XMM-Newton observations of a Seyfert galaxy, the type 2 AGN NGC 4388. Several INTEGRAL observations performed in 2003 allow us to study the spectrum in the 20 - 300 keV range. In addition two XMM-Newton observations give detailed insight into the 0.2 - 10 keV emission. Comparison with previous observations by BeppoSAX, SIGMA and CGRO/OSSE show that the overall spectrum for soft X-rays up to the gamma-rays can be described by a highly absorbed (N(sub H approx. = 2.7 x 10(exp 23)/sq cm) and variable non-thermal component in addition to constant non-absorbed thermal emission (T approx. = 0.8 keV) of low abundance (Z approx. 5% Z (solar)), plus a constant Fe K a line. The hard X-ray component is well described by a simple power law with a mean photon index of Gamma = 1.7. During the INTEGRAL observations the flux at 100 keV increased by a factor of 1.5. The analysis of XMM-Newton data implies that the emission below 3 keV is decoupled from the AGN and probably due to extended emission as seen in Chandra observations. The constant iron line emission is apparently also decoupled from the direct emission of the central engine and likely to be generated in the obscuring material, e.g. in the molecular torus.
    Keywords: Solar Physics
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: Measurements of the CdZnTe internal background at balloon altitudes are essential to determine which physical processes make the most important background contributions. We present results from CdZnTe background measurements made by PoRTIA, a small CdZnTe balloon instrument that was flown three times in three different shielding configurations. PoRTIA was passively shielded during its first flight from Palestine, Texas and actively shielded as a piggyback instrument on the GRIS balloon experiment during its second and third flights from Alice Springs, Australia, using the thick GRIS Nal anticoincidence shield. A significant CdZnTe background reduction was achieved during the third flight with PoRTIA placed completely inside the GRIS shield and blocking crystal, and thus completely surrounded by 15 cm of Nal. A unique balloon altitude background data set is provided by CdZnTe and Ge detectors simultaneously surrounded by the same thick anticoincidence shield; the presence of a single coxial Ge detector inside the shield next to PoRTIA allowed a measurement of the ambient neutron flux inside the shield throughout the flight. These neutrons interact with the detector material to produce isomeric states of the Cd, Zn and Te nuclei that radiatively decay; calculations are presented that indicate that these decays may explain most of the fully shielded CdZnTe background.
    Keywords: Mechanical Engineering
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: Gamma ray bursts (GFU3s) are known to come in two duration classes, separated at approx.2 s. Long bursts originate from star forming regions in galaxies, have accompanying supernovae (SNe) when near enough to observe and are likely caused by massive-star collapsars. Recent observations show that short bursts originate in regions within their host galaxies with lower star formation rates, consistent with binary neutron star (NS) or NS - black hole (BH) mergers. Moreover, although their hosts are predominantly nearby galaxies, no SNe have been so far associated with short GRBs. We report here on the bright, nearby GRB 060614 that does not fit in either class. Its approx.102 s duration groups it with long GRBs, while its temporal lag and peak luminosity fall entirely within the short GRB subclass. Moreover, very deep optical observations exclude an accompanying supernova, similar to short GRBs. This combination of a long duration event without accompanying SN poses a challenge to both a collapsar and merging NS interpretation and opens the door on a new GRB classification scheme that straddles both long and short bursts.
    Keywords: Astronomy
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: Swift has now detected a large enough sample of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) to allow correlation studies of burst parameters. Such studies of earlier data sets have yielded important results leading to further understanding of burst parameters and classifications. This work focuses on seventeen Swift bursts that have also been detected either by Konus-Wind or HETE-II, providing high energy spectra and fits to E(sub peak). Eight of these bursts have spectroscopic redshifts and for others we can estimate redshifts using the variability/luminosity relationship. We can also compare E(sub peak) with E(sub iso), and for those bursts for which a jet break was observed in the afterglow we can derive E(sub g) and test the relationship between E(peak) and E(sub gamma). For all bursts we can derive durations and hardness ratios from the prompt emission.
    Keywords: Astronomy
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: We report Swift Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) observations of the X-ray flash (XRF) XRF 050416A. The fluence ratio between the 15-25 and 25-50 keV energy bands of this event is 1.5, thus making it the softest gamma-ray burst (GRB) observed by BAT so far. The spectrum is well fitted by a Band function with E(sup obs)(sub peak) of 15.0(sup +2.3)(sub -2.7) keV. Assuming the redshift of the host galaxy (z = 0.6535), the isotropic equivalent radiated energy E(sub iso) and the peak energy at the GRB rest frame (E(sup src)(sub peak)) of XRF 050416A are not only consistent with the correlation found by Amati et al. and extended to XRFs by Sakamoto et al. but also fill in the gap of this relation around the 30-80 keV range of E(sup src)(sub peak). This result tightens the validity of the E(sup src)(sub Peak)-E(sup src)(sub peak) relation from XRFs to GRBs. We also find that the jet break time estimated using the empirical relation between E(sup src)(sub peak) and the collimation corrected energy E(sub gamma), is inconsistent with the afterglow observation by the Swift X-Ray Telescope. This could be due to the extra external shock emission overlaid around the jet break time or to the nonexistence of a jet break feature for XRFs, which might be a further challenge for GRB jet emission models and XRF/GRB unification scenarios.
    Keywords: Astronomy
    Type: The Astrophysical Journal; Volume 36
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: Contemporaneous BAT and XRT observations of two recent well-covered GRBs observed by Swift, GRB 050315 and GRB 050319, show clearly a prompt component joining the onset of the afterglow emission. The rapid slewing capability of the spacecraft enables X-ray observations immediately after the burst, typically ~ 100 s following the initiation of the prompt y-ray phase. By fitting a power law form to the y-ray spectrum, we extrapolate the time dependent fluxes measured by the BAT, in the energy band 15 - 350 keV, into the spectral regime observed by the XRT 0.2 - 10 keV, and examine the functional form of the rate of decay of the two light curves. We find that the BAT and XRT light curves merge to form a unified curve. There is a period of steep decay up to ~ 300 s, followed by a flatter decay. The duration of the steep decay, ~ 100 s in the source frame after correcting for cosmological time dilation, agrees roughly with a theoretical estimate for the deceleration time of the relativistic ejecta as it interacts with circumstellar material. For GRB 050315, the steep decay can be characterized by an exponential form, where one e-folding decay time Te (BAT)~ = 24 f 2 s, and Te,(XRT)~ = 35 f 2 s. For GRB 050319, a power law decay - d l n f / d l n t = n, where n approx. ~ = 3, provides a reasonable fit. The early time X-ray fluxes are consistent with representing the lower energy tail of the prompt emission, and provide our first quantitative measure of the decay of the prompt y-ray emission over a large dynamic range in flux. The initial steep decay is expected due to the delayed high latitude photons from a curved shell of relativistic plasma illuminated only for a short interval. The overall conclusion is that the prompt phase of GRBs remains observable for hundreds of seconds longer than previously thought.
    Keywords: Astronomy
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: The Swift mission: scheduled for launch in early 2004: is a multiwavelength observatory for gamma-ray burst (GRB) astronomy. It is the first-of-its-kind autonomous rapid-slewing satellite for transient astronomy and pioneers the way for future rapid-reaction and multiwavelength missions. It will be far more powerful than any previous GRB mission, observing more than 100 bursts per year and performing detailed X-ray and UV/optical afterglow observations spanning timescales from 1 minute to several days after the burst. The objectives are to: 1) determine the origin of GFU3s; 2) classify GRBs and search for new types; 3) study the interaction of the ultra-relativistic outflows of GRBs with their surrounding medium; and 4) use GRBs to study the early universe out to z greater than 10. The mission is being developed by a NASA-led international collaboration. It will carry three instruments: a new-generation wide-field gamma-ray (15-150 keV) detector that will detect bursts, calculate 1-4 arcmin positions: and trigger autonomous spacecraft slews; a narrow-field X-ray telescope that will give 5 arcsec positions and perform spectroscopy in the 0.2 to 10 keV band; and a narrow-field UV/optical telescope that will operate in the 170-600 nm band and provide 0.3 arcsec positions and optical finding charts. Redshift determinations will be made for most bursts. In addition to the primary GRB science, the mission will perform a hard X-ray survey to a sensitivity of approx. 1 mCrab (approx. 2 x l0(exp -11) erg/sq cm s in the 15-150 keV band), more than an order of magnitude better than HEAO A-4. A flexible data and operations system will allow rapid follow-up observations of all types of high-energy transients. with rapid data downlink and uplink available through the NASA TDRSS system. Swift transient data will be rapidly distributed to the astronomical community and all interested observers are encouraged to participate in follow-up measurements. A Guest Investigator program for the mission will provide funding for community involvement. Innovations from the Swift program applicable to the future include: 1) a large-area gamma-ray detector us- ing the new CdZnTe detectors; 2) an autonomous rapid slewing spacecraft; 3) a multiwavelength payload combining optical, X-ray, and gamma-ray instruments; 4) an observing program coordinated with other ground-based and space-based observatories; and 5) immediate multiwavelength data flow to the community. The mission is currently funded for 2 years of operations and the spacecraft will have a lifetime to orbital decay of approx. 8 years.
    Keywords: Optics
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