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An Extremely Luminous Panchromatic Outburst from the Nucleus of a Distant Galaxy

Levan, A. J. and Cutri, R. M. and Hoffman, D. I. and Kasliwal, M. M. and Ofek, E. O. and Quimby, R. M. (2011) An Extremely Luminous Panchromatic Outburst from the Nucleus of a Distant Galaxy. Science, 333 (6039). pp. 199-202. ISSN 0036-8075.

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Variable x-ray and γ-ray emission is characteristic of the most extreme physical processes in the universe. We present multiwavelength observations of a unique γ-ray–selected transient detected by the Swift satellite, accompanied by bright emission across the electromagnetic spectrum, and whose properties are unlike any previously observed source. We pinpoint the event to the center of a small, star-forming galaxy at redshift z = 0.3534. Its high-energy emission has lasted much longer than any γ-ray burst, whereas its peak luminosity was ∼100 times higher than bright active galactic nuclei. The association of the outburst with the center of its host galaxy suggests that this phenomenon has its origin in a rare mechanism involving the massive black hole in the nucleus of that galaxy.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Cutri, R. M.0000-0002-0077-2305
Kasliwal, M. M.0000-0002-5619-4938
Ofek, E. O.0000-0002-6786-8774
Quimby, R. M.0000-0001-9171-5236
Additional Information:© 2011 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received for publication 18 April 2011. Accepted for publication 8 June 2011. Published Online 16 June 2011. We gratefully acknowledge the efforts of the many observatories whose data are presented here. We particularly thank D. Malesani for assistance in the calibration of the optical photometry, M. Irwin for assistance with processing the UKIRT data, D. Fox for help with the PTF data, and K. Hurley and J. Prochaska for assistance in obtaining the Keck data. A.J.L. and N.R.T. acknowledge support from the Science and Technology Facilities Council. Swift, launched in November 2004, is a NASA mission in partnership with the Italian Space Agency and the UK Space Agency. Swift is managed by NASA Goddard. Pennsylvania State University controls science and flight operations from the Mission Operations Center in University Park, Pennsylvania. Los Alamos National Laboratory provides g-ray imaging analysis. S.B.C. acknowledges generous support from G. Bengier and C. Bengier, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, NASA/Swift grant NNX10AI21G, NASA/Fermi grant NNX1OA057G, and NSF grant AST-0908886. A.J.vdH. was supported by NASA grant NNH07ZDA001-GLAST. G.L. is supported by a grant from the Carlsberg foundation. M.M. is supported by the Hubble Fellowship grant HST-HF-51277.01-A, awarded by the The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), which is operated by AURA under NASA contract NAS5-26555. The Dark Cosmology Centre is funded by the Danish National Research Foundation. This work makes use of data obtained by the Chandra X-ray Observatory (OBSID = 12920). This work is based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (program ID 12447), obtained from the data archive at the Space Telescope Institute. STScI is operated by the association of Universities for Research in Astronomy under the NASA contract NAS 5-26555. This work is also based on observations obtained at the Gemini Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, under a cooperative agreement with the NSF on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the National Science Foundation (United States), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (UK), the National Research Council (Canada), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (Chile), the Australian Research Council (Australia), Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia (Brazil), and Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva (Argentina). The UK Infrared Telescope is operated by the Joint Astronomy Centre on behalf of the Science and Technology Facilities Council of the UK. UKIRT data were processed by the Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit. This work is also based on observations made with the Nordic Optical Telescope, operated on the island of La Palma jointly by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias. This work is also based on observations made with the GTC and on observations obtained with the Samuel Oschin Telescope at the Palomar Observatory as part of the Palomar Transient Factory project. The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, which is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC02-05CH11231, provided staff, computational resources, and data storage for this project. The WHT is operated on the island of La Palma by the Isaac Newton Group in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias. This work is also based on observations made with the Italian Telescopio Nazionale Galileo operated on the island of La Palma by the Fundacion Galileo Galilei of the INAF (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica) at the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias. The WSRT is operated by ASTRON, with support from the Netherlands Foundation for Scientific Research. This work is also based on observations carried out with the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer. IRAM is supported by Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers/CNRS (France), Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (Germany), and Instituto Geográfico Nacional (Spain). Some of the data presented here were obtained at the W.M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and NASA. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W.M. Keck Foundation. J.G., A.J.C.T., R.S.R., and S.G. are partially supported by the Spanish programs AYA-2007-63677, AYA-2008-03467/ESP, and AYA-2009-14000-C03-01. R.L.C.S. is supported by a Royal Society Fellowship. We acknowledge support by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation under project grants AYA2008-03467/ESP and AYA2009-14000-C03-01 (including Feder funds). J.P.B. and A.J.R. were supported by the NSF through grants AST-0808099 and AST-0909237. A.N.M. gratefully acknowledges support from a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. A.P.K. is partially supported by NSF award AST-1008353. R.A.M.J.W. acknowledges support from the European Research Council via Advanced Investigator grant 247295. We acknowledge access to the major research facilities program supported by the Commonwealth of Australia under the International Science Linkages program. N.B. and C.P. are NASA Einstein Fellows. M.C.C. is a Hubble Fellow. Data used in this paper are presented in the SOM or taken from the literature as cited.
Group:Palomar Transient Factory, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Richard and Rhoda Goldman FundUNSPECIFIED
Carlsberg FoundationUNSPECIFIED
NASA Hubble FellowshipHST-HF-51277.01-A
Space Telescope Science InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Danish National Research FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC02-05CH11231
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)UNSPECIFIED
Institut national des sciences de l'Univers (INSU)UNSPECIFIED
Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN)UNSPECIFIED
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (MCINN)AYA-2007-63677
Royal Society FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (MCINN)AYA2008-03467/ESP
Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (MCINN)AYA2009-14000-C03-01
Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER)UNSPECIFIED
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)247295
Commonwealth of AustraliaUNSPECIFIED
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6039
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110719-081344168
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:An Extremely Luminous Panchromatic Outburst from the Nucleus of a Distant Galaxy A. J. Levan, N. R. Tanvir, S. B. Cenko, D. A. Perley, K. Wiersema, J. S. Bloom, A. S. Fruchter, A. de Ugarte Postigo, P. T. O’Brien, N. Butler, A. J. van der Horst, G. Leloudas, A. N. Morgan, K. Misra, G. C. Bower, J. Farihi, R. L. Tunnicliffe, M. Modjaz, J. M. Silverman, J. Hjorth, C. Thöne, A. Cucchiara, J. M. Castro Cerón, A. J. Castro-Tirado, J. A. Arnold, M. Bremer, J. P. Brodie, T. Carroll, M. C. Cooper, P. A. Curran, R. M. Cutri, J. Ehle, D. Forbes, J. Fynbo, J. Gorosabel, J. Graham, D. I. Hoffman, S. Guziy, P. Jakobsson, A. Kamble, T. Kerr, M. M. Kasliwal, C. Kouveliotou, D. Kocevski, N. M. Law, P. E. Nugent, E. O. Ofek, D. Poznanski, R. M. Quimby, E. Rol, A. J. Romanowsky, R. Sánchez-Ramírez, S. Schulze, N. Singh, L. van Spaandonk, R. L. C. Starling, R. G. Strom, J. C. Tello, O. Vaduvescu, P. J. Wheatley, R. A. M. J. Wijers, J. M. Winters, and D. Xu Science 8 July 2011: 199-202. Published online 16 June 2011 [DOI:10.1126/science.1207143]
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:24455
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:19 Jul 2011 16:40
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 02:56

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