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.