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Published September 22, 2011 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

The most distant cosmological explosion


At a redshift of 8.3 GRB 090423 marks the highest known redshift object in the Universe. By combining our radio measurements with existing X‐ray and infrared observations, we estimated the kinetic energy of the afterglow, the geometry of the outflow and the density of the circumburst medium. Our best fit model is a quasi‐spherical, high‐energy explosion in a low, constant‐density medium. We compare the properties of GRB 090423 with a sample of GRBs at moderate redshifts. We find that the high energy and afterglow properties of GRB 090423 are not sufficiently different from other GRBs to suggest a different kind of progenitor, such as a Population III star. However, we argue that it is not clear that the afterglow properties alone can provide convincing identification of Population III progenitors. We suggest that the millimeter and centimeter radio detections of GRB 090423 at early times contained emission from a reverse shock component. This has important implications for the detection of high redshift GRBs by the next generation of radio facilities.

Additional Information

© 2011 American Institute of Physics. Published online 22 September 2011. We thank Bob Dickman for his generous allocation of VLA time and Joan Wrobel and Mark Claussen for the timely scheduling of the observations. This work made use of data supplied by the UK Swift Science Data Centre at the University of Leicester. PC is supported by NSERC discovery grants held by Kristine Spekkens and Gregg Wade at the Royal Military College of Canada.

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