Could the GRB-supernovae GRB 031203 and XRF 060218 be cosmic twins?

Lu Feng, Derek B. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The gamma-ray burst (GRB)/X-ray flash (XRF) events GRB 031203, discovered by INTEGRAL, and XRF 060218, discovered by Swift, represent two of the only five GRB-supernovae (GRB-SNe) with optical spectroscopic confirmation of their SN components. Yet, their observed high-energy properties offer a sharp contrast: while GRB 031203 was detected as a short 40 s burst with a spectrum peaking at Epeak > 190 keV, XRF 060218 was a T90≈ 2100 s long, smoothly evolving burst with peak energy Epeak= 4.9 keV. At the same time, the properties of the two expanding dust-scattered X-ray haloes observed in a fast-response XMM-Newton observation of GRB 031203 reveal that this event was accompanied by an 'X-ray blast' with fluence comparable to or greater than that of the prompt gamma-ray event. Taking this observation as our starting point, we investigate the likely properties of the X-ray blast from GRB 031203 via detailed modelling of the XMM data, discovering a third halo due to scattering off a more distant dust sheet at d3= 9.94 ± 0.39 kpc, and constraining the timing of the X-ray blast relative to the GRB trigger time to be t0= 11 ± 417 s. Using our constraints, we compare the properties of GRB 031203 to those of other GRB-SNe in order to understand the likely nature of its X-ray blast, concluding that a bright X-ray flare, as in GRB 050502B, or shock breakout event, as in XRF 060218, provides the most likely explanation. In the latter case, we consider the added possibility that XRF 060218 may have manifested an episode of bright gamma-ray emission prior to the burst observed by Swift, in which case GRB 031203 and XRF 060218 would be 'cosmic twin' explosions with nearly identical high-energy properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1018-1028
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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