GRB 060607A: A gamma-ray burst with bright asynchronous early X-ray and optical emissions

Houri Ziaeepour, Stephen T. Holland, Patricia T. Boyd, Kim Page, Samantha Oates, Craig B. Markwardt, Peter Mészáros, Neil Gehrels, Francis E. Marshall, Jay Cummings, Mike Goad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The early optical emission of the moderately high redshift (2 = 3.08) GRB 060607A shows a remarkable broad and strong peak with a rapid rise and a relatively slow power-law decay. It is not coincident with the strong early-time flares seen in the X-ray and gamma-ray energy bands. There is weak evidence for variability superposed on this dominant component in several optical bands that can be related to flares in high-energy bands. While for a small number of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), well-sampled optical flares have been observed simultaneously with X-ray and gamma-ray pulses, GRB 060607A is one of the few cases where the early optical emission shows no significant evidence for correlation with the prompt emission. In this work we first report in detail the broad-band observations of this burst by Swift. Then by applying a simple model for the dynamics and the synchrotron radiation of a relativistic shock, we show that the dominant component of the early emissions in optical wavelengths has the same origin as the tail emission produced after the main gamma-ray activity. The most plausible explanation for the peak in the optical light curve seems to be the cooling of the prompt after the main collisions, shifting the characteristic synchrotron frequency to the optical bands. The fact that the early emission in X-ray does not show a steep decay, like what is observed in many other GRBs, is further evidence for slow cooling of the prompt shell within this GRB. It seems that the cooling process requires a steepening of the electron energy distribution and/or a break in this distribution at high energies. From simultaneous gamma-ray emission during the first flare, the behaviour of hardness ratio, and the lack of spectral features, we conclude that the X-ray flares are due to the collision of late shells rather than late reprocessing of the central engine activities. The sharp break in the X-ray light curve at few thousands of seconds after the trigger, is not observed in the infrared/optical/ultraviolet bands, and therefore cannot be a jet break. Either the X-ray break is due to a change in the spectrum of the accelerated electrons or the lack of an optical break is due to the presence of a related delayed response component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-467
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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