Research Article

The Bright Optical Flash and Afterglow from the Gamma-Ray Burst GRB 130427A

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Science  21 Nov 2013:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1242316

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The optical light generated simultaneously with x-rays and gamma-rays during a gamma-ray burst (GRB) provides clues about the nature of the explosions that occur as massive stars collapse. We report on the bright optical flash and fading afterglow from powerful burst GRB 130427A. The optical and >100 MeV gamma-ray flux show a close correlation during the first 7000 s, best explained by reverse shock emission co-generated in the relativistic burst ejecta as it collides with surrounding material. At later times, optical observations show the emergence of emission generated by a forward shock traversing the circumburst environment. The link between optical afterglow and >100 MeV emission suggests that nearby early peaked afterglows will be the best candidates for studying particle acceleration at GeV/TeV energies.

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