Observations of GRB 990123 by the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory


GRB 990123 was the first burst from which simultaneous optical, X-ray, and gamma-ray emission was detected; its afterglow has been followed by an extensive set of radio, optical, and X-ray observations. We have studied the gamma-ray burst itself as observed by the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory detectors. We find that gamma-ray fluxes are not correlated with the simultaneous optical observations and that the gamma-ray spectra cannot be extrapolated simply to the optical fluxes. The burst is well fitted by the standard four-parameter GRB function, with the exception that excess emission compared with this function is observed below 15 keV during some time intervals. The burst is characterized by the typical hard-to-soft and hardness-intensity correlation spectral evolution patterns. The energy of the peak of the f spectrum, Ep, reaches an unusually high value during the first intensity spike, 1470 ± 110 keV, and then falls to 300 keV during the tail of the burst. The high-energy spectrum above 1 MeV is consistent with a power law with a photon index of about -3. By fluence, GRB 990123 is brighter than all but 0.4% of the GRBs observed with BATSE, clearly placing it on the - power-law portion of the intensity distribution. However, the redshift measured for the afterglow is inconsistent with the Euclidean interpretation of the - power law. Using the redshift value of 1.61 and assuming isotropic emission, the gamma-ray energy exceeds 1054 ergs.


Space Science Center, Physics

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The Astrophysical Journal


The American Astronomical Society

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