GRB 080319B: A naked-eye stellar blast from the distant universe

J. L. Racusin, D. N. Burrows

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


On behalf of a large international collaboration [1], we present the unprecedented broadband observations of GRB 080319B, whose prompt optical emission peaked at a visual magnitude of 5.3, making it briefly visible with the naked eye. GRB 080319B was discovered by Swift and captured in exquisite detail by ground based wide-field telescopes, imaging the burst location from before the time of the explosion. The combination of these unique optical data with simultaneous γ-ray observations provides powerful diagnostics of the detailed physics of this explosion within seconds of its formation. We show that the prompt optical and γ-ray emissions from this event arise from different spectral components within the same physical region located at a large distance from the source, implying an extremely relativistic outflow. Our observations also provide good evidence for a bright reverse shock component. The chromatic behavior of the broadband afterglow is consistent with viewing the GRB down the very narrow inner core of a two-component jet that is expanding into a wind-like environment consistent with the massive star origin of long GRBs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2008 Nanjing Gamma-Ray Burst Conference
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2008
Event2008 Nanjing Gamma-Ray Burst Conference - Nanjing, China
Duration: Jun 23 2008Jun 27 2008

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


Other2008 Nanjing Gamma-Ray Burst Conference

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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