Research Article

Fermi-LAT Observations of the Gamma-Ray Burst GRB 130427A

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Science  03 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6166, pp. 42-47
DOI: 10.1126/science.1242353

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Bright Lights

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), bright flashes of gamma-ray light, are thought to be associated with the collapse of massive stars. GRB 130427A was detected on 27 April 2013, and it had the longest gamma-ray duration and one of the largest isotropic energy releases observed to date (see the Perspective by Fynbo). Ackermann et al. (p. 42, published online 21 November) report data obtained with the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, which reveal a high-energy spectral component that cannot be accounted for by the standard external shock synchrotron radiation model. Vestrand et al. (p. 38, published online 21 November) report the detection of an extremely bright flash of visible light and unexpected similarities between the variations of optical light and the highest-energy gamma rays that indicate a common origin. A detailed analysis of the first pulse of GRB 130427A by Preece et al. (p. 51, published online 21 November) suggests that existing models cannot explain all the observed spectral and temporal behaviors simultaneously. Maselli et al. (p. 48, published online 21 November) present x-ray and optical light curves of the burst's prompt emission as well as of its afterglow as recorded by the Swift satellite and a range of ground-based telescopes.


The observations of the exceptionally bright gamma-ray burst (GRB) 130427A by the Large Area Telescope aboard the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope provide constraints on the nature of these unique astrophysical sources. GRB 130427A had the largest fluence, highest-energy photon (95 GeV), longest γ-ray duration (20 hours), and one of the largest isotropic energy releases ever observed from a GRB. Temporal and spectral analyses of GRB 130427A challenge the widely accepted model that the nonthermal high-energy emission in the afterglow phase of GRBs is synchrotron emission radiated by electrons accelerated at an external shock.

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