Observations of Gamma-ray Bursts with the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer

Kavli Affiliate: Edmund Bertschinger

| First 5 Authors: Hale Bradt, Alan M. Levine, Francis E. Marshall, Ronald A. Remillard, Donald A. Smith

| Summary:

The role of the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) in the study of Gamma-ray
Bursts (GRBs) is reviewed. Through April 2001, the All-Sky Monitor (ASM) and
the Proportional Counter Array (PCA) instruments have detected 30 GRBs. In 16
cases, an early celestial position was released to the community, sometimes in
conjunction with IPN results. The subsequent optical and radio searches led to
the detection of 5 x-ray afterglows, to at least 6 optical or radio afterglows,
to 3 of the 17 secure redshifts known at this writing, and to 2 other likely
redshifts. The decay curves of early x-ray afterglows have been measured. The
rapid determination of the location of GRB 970828 and the absence of optical
afterglow at that position gave one of the first indications that GRBs occur in
star-forming regions (Groot et al. 1998, ApJ 493, L27). The location of GRB
000301C led to the determination of a break in the optical decay rate (Rhoads
and Fruchter 2001, ApJ 546, 117) which is evidence for a jet, and to
variability in the optical light curve that could represent gravitational
lensing (Garnavich, Loeb, and Stanek 2000, ApJ 544, L11). X-ray light curves of
GRB from the ASM in conjunction with gamma-ray light curves exhibit striking
differences in different bands and may reveal the commencement of the x-ray
afterglow (Smith et al. 2001, ApJ submitted, astroph 0103357).

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