Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Sternwarte 5, 07778 Tautenburg, Germany
2 Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstraße 1, 85748 Garching, Germany
3 Universe Cluster, Technische Universität München, Boltzmannstraße 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
4 Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC), Glorieta de la Astronomía s/n, 18008 Granada, Spain
5 Departamento de Ciencias Físicas, Universidad Andres Bello, Avda. República 252, Santiago, Chile
6 INAF-IASF Bologna, Area della Ricerca CNR, via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
7 Cahill Center for Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
8 Dark Cosmology Centre, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Juliane Maries Vej 30, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
9 Astrophysics Research Institute, Liverpool John Moores University, IC2, Liverpool Science Park, 146 Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L3 5RF, UK
10 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV 89154, USA
11 ESO, Alonso de Córdova 3107, Vitacura, Santiago de Chile, Chile
12 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
13 Institute of Experimental and Applied Physics, Czech Technical University in Prague, Horská 3a/22, 12800 Prague, Czech Republic
14 Scuola Normale Superiore, Piazza dei Cavalieri 7, 56126 Pisa, Italy
15 Astrophysics Research Institute, Liverpool John Moores University, 146 Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L3 5RF, UK
16 Max-Planck Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, 85748 Garching, Germany
17 Department of Particle Physics & Astrophysics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel
18 American River College, Physics and Astronomy Dpt., 4700 College Oak Drive, Sacramento, CA 95841, USA
19 Instituto de Astrofísica, Facultad de Física, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, 306, Santiago 22, Chile
20 Millennium Institute of Astrophysics, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, 7820436 Macul, Santiago, Chile
21 Department of Particle Physics and Astrophysics, Faculty of Physics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel
22 Department of Chemistry and Physics, Roger Williams University, One Old Ferry Road, Bristol, RI 02809, USA
Accepted: 3 May 2018
Context. Afterglows of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are simple in the most basic model, but can show many complex features. The ultra-long duration GRB 111209A, one of the longest GRBs ever detected, also has the best-monitored afterglow in this rare class of GRBs.
Aims. We want to address the question whether GRB 111209A was a special event beyond its extreme duration alone, and whether it is a classical GRB or another kind of high-energy transient. The afterglow may yield significant clues.
Methods. We present afterglow photometry obtained in seven bands with the GROND imager as well as in further seven bands with the Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope (UVOT) on-board the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory. The light curve is analysed by multi-band modelling and joint fitting with power-laws and broken power-laws, and we use the contemporaneous GROND data to study the evolution of the spectral energy distribution. We compare the optical afterglow to a large ensemble we have analysed in earlier works, and especially to that of another ultra-long event, GRB 130925A. We furthermore undertake a photometric study of the host galaxy.
Results. We find a strong, chromatic rebrightening event at ≈0.8 days after the GRB, during which the spectral slope becomes redder. After this, the light curve decays achromatically, with evidence for a break at about 9 days after the trigger. The afterglow luminosity is found to not be exceptional. We find that a double-jet model is able to explain the chromatic rebrightening. The afterglow features have been detected in other events and are not unique.
Conclusions. The duration aside, the GRB prompt emission and afterglow parameters of GRB 111209A are in agreement with the known distributions for these parameters. While the central engine of this event may differ from that of classical GRBs, there are multiple lines of evidence pointing to GRB 111209A resulting from the core-collapse of a massive star with a stripped envelope.
Key words: gamma-ray burst: general / gamma-ray burst: individual: GRB 111209A / gamma-ray burst: individual: GRB 130925A
The UVOT and GROND photometry (Table 2) is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (184.108.40.206) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/617/A122
© ESO 2018