Swift observations of the X-ray bright GRB 050315

Research paper by S. Vaughan, M. R. Goad, A. P. Beardmore, P. T. O'Brien, J. P. Osborne, K. L. Page, S. D. Barthelmy, D. N. Burrows, S. Campana, J. K. Cannizzo, M. Capalbi, G. Chincarini, J. R. Cummings, G. Cusumano, P. Giommi, et al.

Indexed on: 24 Oct '05Published on: 24 Oct '05Published in: Astrophysics


This paper discusses Swift observations of the gamma-ray burst GRB 050315 (z=1.949) from 80 s to 10 days after the onset of the burst. The X-ray light curve displayed a steep early decay (t^-5) for ~200 s and several breaks. However, both the prompt hard X-ray/gamma-ray emission (observed by the BAT) and the first ~ 300 s of X-ray emission (observed by the XRT) can be explained by exponential decays, with similar decay constants. Extrapolating the BAT light curve into the XRT band suggests the rapidly decaying, early X-ray emission was simply a continuation of the fading prompt emission; this strong similarity between the prompt gamma-ray and early X-ray emission may be related to the simple temporal and spectral character of this X-ray rich GRB. The prompt (BAT) spectrum was a steep down to 15 keV, and appeared to continue through the XRT bandpass, implying a low peak energy, inconsistent with the Amati relation. Following the initial steep decline the X-ray afterglow did not fade for ~1.2*10^4 s, after which time it decayed with a temporal index of alpha ~ 0.7, followed by a second break at ~2.5*10^5 s to a slope of alpha ~ 2. The apparent `plateau' in the X-ray light curve, after the early rapid decay, makes this one of the most extreme examples of the steep-flat-steep X-ray light curves revealed by Swift. If the second afterglow break is identified with a jet break then the jet opening angle was theta_0 ~ 5 deg, and implying E_gamma > 10^50 erg.