A study of the prompt and afterglow emission of the Short GRB 061201

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics

Scientific paper

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10 pages, 7 figures, accepted for publication in A&A

Scientific paper

10.1063/1.2943468

Our knowledge of the intrinsic properties of short duration Gamma-Ray Bursts has relied, so far, only upon a few cases for which the estimate of the distance and an extended, multiwavelength monitoring of the afterglow have been obtained. We carried out multiwavelength observations of the short GRB 061201 aimed at estimating its distance and studying its properties. We performed a spectral and timing analysis of the prompt and afterglow emission and discuss the results in the context of the standard fireball model. A clear temporal break was observed in the X-ray light curve about 40 minutes after the burst trigger. We find that the spectral and timing behaviour of the X-ray afterglow is consistent with a jet origin of the observed break, although the optical data can not definitively confirm this and other scenarios are possible. No underlying host galaxy down to R~26 mag was found after fading of the optical afterglow. Thus, no secure redshift could be measured for this burst. The nearest galaxy is at z=0.111 and shows evidence of star formation activity. We discuss the association of GRB 061201 with this galaxy and with the ACO S 995 galaxy cluster, from which the source is at an angular distance of 17'' and 8.5', respectively. We also test the association with a possible undetected, positionally consistent galaxy at z~1. In all these cases, in the jet interpretation, we find a jet opening angle of 1-2 degrees.

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