A Caltech Library Service

The energetic afterglow of the big γ-ray burst of 14 December 1997

Ramaprakash, A. N. and Kulkarni, S. R. and Frail, D. A. and Koresko, C. and Kuchner, M. and Goodrich, R. and Neugebauer, G. and Murphy, T. and Eikenberry, S. and Bloom, J. S. and Djorgovski, S. G. and Waxman, E. and Frontera, F. and Feroci, M. and Nicastro, L. (1998) The energetic afterglow of the big γ-ray burst of 14 December 1997. Nature, 393 (6680). pp. 43-46. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/29941.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The discovery of fading but relatively long-lived X-ray emission accompanying γ-ray bursts has revolutionized the study of these objects. This 'afterglow' is most easily explained by models similar to those describing supernovae, but with relativistic ejecta. And as with supernovae, afterglow measurements should in principle provide important constraints on burst properties, permitting, for example, estimates of the amount of energy released, the geometry of the emitting surface and the density of the ambient medium. Here we report infrared observations of the fading optical transient associated with the burst of 14 December 1997 (GRB971214). We detect a 'break' in the broad-band spectrum, as predicted by afterglow models, which constrains the total energy in the burst to be >10^(51) erg. Combining the fluence of optical afterglow with the redshift (z = 3.42), we estimate that the energy released in the afterglow alone was 2 x 10^(51) erg. Estimates of afterglow energetics are less likely to be subject to geometric effects—such as beaming—that render uncertain estimates of the total burst energy, but it nevertheless appears from our measurements that γ-ray bursts may be much more energetic than the 10^(51) erg usually assumed.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Readcube access
Kulkarni, S. R.0000-0001-5390-8563
Murphy, T.0000-0002-2686-438X
Bloom, J. S.0000-0002-7777-216X
Djorgovski, S. G.0000-0002-0603-3087
Waxman, E.0000-0002-9038-5877
Additional Information:© 1998 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. Received 18 March; Accepted 14 April 1998. The W. M. Keck Observatory is operated by the California Association for Research in Astronomy, a scientific partnership among California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA. It was made possible by financial support from the W. M. Keck Foundation. The VLA is a facility of the NSF operated under cooperative agreement by associated Universities, Inc. We thank W. Sargent, Director of Palomar Observatory, F. Chaffee, Director of the Keck Observatory and our colleagues for their continued support of our GRB program. S.R.K.’s research is supported by the NSF and NASA. S.G.D. acknowledges partial support from the Bressler Foundation. A.N.R. thanks the International Astronomical Union for a travel grant.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Bressler FoundationUNSPECIFIED
International Astronomical UnionUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6680
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150624-153310995
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Ramaprakash, A. N., Kulkarni, S. R., Frail, D. A., Koresko, C., Kuchner, M., Goodrich, R., . . . Nicastro, L. (1998). The energetic afterglow of the [gamma]-ray burst of 14 December 1997. [10.1038/29941]. Nature, 393(6680), 43-46.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:58592
Deposited On:25 Jun 2015 22:52
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 22:07

Repository Staff Only: item control page