Volume 535, November 2011
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||04 November 2011|
GRB 091127: The cooling break race on magnetic fuel⋆
Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstraße 1, 85748 Garching, Germany
2 Universe Cluster, Technische Universität München, Boltzmannstraße 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
3 Dark Cosmology Centre, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Juliane Maries Vej 30, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
4 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0978, USA
5 CRESST and the Observational Cosmology Laboratory, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
6 Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
7 Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Sternwarte 5, 07778 Tautenburg, Germany
Received: 13 July 2011
Accepted: 13 September 2011
Aims. Using high-quality, broad-band afterglow data for GRB 091127, we investigate the validity of the synchrotron fireball model for gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), and infer physical parameters of the ultra-relativistic outflow.
Methods. We used multi-wavelength (NIR to X-ray) follow-up observations obtained with GROND simultaneously in the g′r′i′z′JH filters and the XRT onboard the Swift satellite in the 0.3 to 10 keV energy range. The resulting afterglow light curve is of excellent accuracy with relative photometric errors as low as 1%, and the spectral energy distribution (SED) is well-sampled over 5 decades in energy. These data present one of the most comprehensive observing campaigns for a single GRB afterglow and allow us to test several proposed emission models and outflow characteristics in unprecedented detail.
Results. Both the multi-color light curve and the broad-band SED of the afterglow of GRB 091127 show evidence of a cooling break moving from high to lower energies. The early light curve is well described by a broken power-law, where the initial decay in the optical/NIR wavelength range is considerably flatter than at X-rays. Detailed fitting of the time-resolved SED shows that the break is very smooth with a sharpness index of 2.2 ± 0.2, and evolves towards lower frequencies as a power-law with index − 1.23 ± 0.06. These are the first accurate and contemporaneous measurements of both the sharpness of the spectral break and its time evolution.
Conclusions. The measured evolution of the cooling break (νc ∝ t~−1.2) is not consistent with the predictions of the standard model, wherein νc ∝ t~−0.5 is expected. A possible explanation for the observed behavior is a time dependence of the microphysical parameters, in particular the fraction of the total energy in the magnetic field ϵB. This conclusion provides further evidence that the standard fireball model is too simplistic, and time-dependent micro-physical parameters may be required to model the growing number of well-sampled afterglow light curves.
Key words: ISM: jets and outflows / X-rays: bursts / X-rays: individuals: GRB 091127
Tables 3 and 4 are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (18.104.22.168) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/535/A57
Present address: Università degli studi di Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza 3, 20126, Milano, Italy.
© ESO, 2011
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