This article has an erratum: [erratum]
Volume 476, Number 3, December IV 2007
|Page(s)||1401 - 1409|
|Section||Celestial mechanics and astrometry|
|Published online||23 October 2007|
Accurate early positions for Swift GRBs: enhancing X-ray positions with UVOT astrometry
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Mullard Space Science Laboratory, Department of Space and Climate Physics, University College London, Holmbury St. Mary, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6NT, UK
3 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
4 Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
5 INAF-Osservatorio Astronomica di Brera, via Bianchi 46, 23807 Merate (Lc), Italy
6 ASI Science Data Center, via Galileo Galilei, 00044 Frascati, Italy
7 Universities Space Research Association, 10211 Wincopin Circle, Suite 500, Columbia, MD 21044-3432, USA
Accepted: 13 October 2007
The Swift Gamma Ray Burst satellite routinely provides prompt positions for GRBs and their afterglows on timescales of a few hundred seconds. However, with a pointing accuracy of only a few arcminutes, and a systematic uncertainty on the star-tracker solutions to the World Coordinate System of 3–4 arcsec, the precision of the early XRT positions is limited to 3–4 arcsec at best. This is significant because operationally, the XRT detects >95% of all GRBs, while the UVOT detects only the optically brightest bursts, ~30% of all bursts detected by BAT; thus early and accurate XRT positions are important because for the majority of bursts they provide the best available information for the initial ground-based follow-up campaigns. Here we describe an autonomous way of producing more accurate prompt XRT positions for GRBs and their afterglows, based on UVOT astrometry and a detailed mapping between the XRT and UVOT detectors. The latter significantly reduces the dominant systematic error – the star-tracker solution to the World Coordinate System. This technique, which is limited to times when there is significant overlap between UVOT and XRT PC-mode data, provides a factor of 2 improvement in the localisation of XRT refined positions on timescales of less than a few hours. Furthermore, the accuracy achieved is superior to astrometrically corrected XRT PC mode images at early times (for up to 24 h), for the majority of bursts, and is comparable to the accuracy achieved by astrometrically corrected X-ray positions based on deep XRT PC-mode imaging at later times.
Key words: gamma ray: bursts / astrometry
© ESO, 2007
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