Time-dependent Optical Spectroscopy of GRB 010222: Clues to the Gamma-Ray Burst Environment
Links to Fileshttps://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1086/342619
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Type of Work15 pages
Citation of Original PublicationN. Mirabal et al., Time-dependent Optical Spectroscopy of GRB 010222: Clues to the Gamma-Ray Burst Environment, ApJ 578 818 (2002), doi: https://doi.org/10.1086/342619
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This work was written as part of one of the author's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. Law
We present sequential optical spectra of the afterglow of GRB 010222 obtained 1 day apart using the Low-Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (LRIS) and the Echellette Spectrograph and Imager (ESI) on the Keck Telescopes. Three low-ionization absorption systems are spectroscopically identified at z1 = 1.47688, z2 = 1.15628, and z3 = 0.92747. The higher resolution ESI spectrum reveals two distinct components in the highest redshift system at z1a = 1.47590 and z1b = 1.47688. We interpret the z1b = 1.47688 system as an absorption feature of the disk of the host galaxy of GRB 010222. The best-fitted power-law optical continuum and [Zn/Cr] ratio imply low dust content or a local gray dust component near the burst site. In addition, we do not detect strong signatures of vibrationally excited states of H2. If the gamma-ray burst took place in a superbubble or young stellar cluster, there are no outstanding signatures of an ionized absorber either. Analysis of the spectral time dependence at low resolution shows no significant evidence for absorption-line variability. This lack of variability is confronted with time-dependent photoionization simulations designed to apply the observed flux from GRB 010222 to a variety of assumed atomic gas densities and cloud radii. The absence of time dependence in the absorption lines implies that high-density environments are disfavored. In particular, if the GRB environment was dust free, its density was unlikely to exceed nH I = 10² cm⁻³. If depletion of metals onto dust is similar to Galactic values or less than solar abundances are present, then nH I ≥ 2 × 10⁴ cm⁻³ is probably ruled out in the immediate vicinity of the burst.
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