EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 420, Number 3, June IV 2004
Page(s) 899 - 903
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20041024

A&A 420, 899-903 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20041024

Prospects for multiwavelength polarization observations of GRB afterglows and the case GRB 030329

S. Klose1, E. Palazzi2, N. Masetti2, B. Stecklum1, J. Greiner3, D. H. Hartmann4 and H. M. Schmid5

1  Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, 07778 Tautenburg, Germany
2  Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica, Sezione di Bologna, CNR, via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
3  Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestische Physik, 85741 Garching, Germany
4  Clemson University, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Clemson, SC 29634, USA
5  Institut für Astronomie, ETH Zürich, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland

(Received 13 January 2004 / Accepted 21 March 2004 )

We explore the prospects for simultaneous, broad-band, multiwavelength polarimetric observations of GRB afterglows. We focus on the role of cosmic dust in GRB host galaxies on the observed percentage polarization of afterglows in the optical/near-infrared bands as a function of redshift. Our driving point is the afterglow of GRB 030329, for which we obtained polarimetric data in the R band and K band simultaneously ~1.5 days after the burst. We argue that polarimetric observations can be very sensitive to dust in a GRB host, because dust can render the polarization of an afterglow wavelength-dependent. We discuss the consequences for the interpretation of observational data and emphasize the important role of very early polarimetric follow-up observations in all bands, when afterglows are still bright, to study the physical properties of dust and magnetic fields in high- z galaxies.

Key words: gamma rays: bursts -- polarization; dust -- extinction

Offprint request: S. Klose, klose@tls-tautenburg.de

SIMBAD Objects

© ESO 2004