Swift observations of gamma-ray bursts

N. Gehrels
2007 Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences  
Since its launch on 20 November 2004, the Swift mission has been detecting approximately 100 gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) each year, and immediately (within approx. 90 s) starting simultaneous X-ray and UV/optical observations of the afterglow. It has already collected an impressive database, including prompt emission to higher sensitivities than BATSE, uniform monitoring of afterglows and a rapid follow-up by other observatories notified through the GCN. Advances in our understanding of short GRBs
more » ... ding of short GRBs have been spectacular. The detection of X-ray afterglows has led to accurate localizations and the conclusion that short GRBs can occur in non-star-forming galaxies or regions, whereas long GRBs are strongly concentrated within the star-forming regions. This is consistent with the NS merger model. Swift has greatly increased the redshift range of GRB detection. The highest redshift GRBs, at zw5-6, are approaching the era of reionization. Ground-based deep optical spectroscopy of high redshift bursts is giving metallicity measurements and other information on the source environment to a much greater distance than other techniques. The localization of GRB 060218 to a nearby galaxy, and the association with SN 2006aj, added a valuable member to the class of GRBs with detected supernova.
doi:10.1098/rsta.2006.1975 pmid:17293335 fatcat:hingkz5z5vfabdejshae32me4e