AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 29 X-Ray Flashes
Topical Session, Tuesday, 2:30-4:00pm, 4:15-6:00pm, May 31, 2005, 102 E

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[29.02] Properties of X-Ray Flashes from HETE Observations

G. R. Ricker (MIT), HETE Science Team

Now in its fifth year of operations, HETE continues to provide the observer community with prompt localizations and accurate spectral measurements of GRB sources over a broad energy range, extending from 2-500 keV. As a result of HETE's excellent low energy response, it is uniquely suited to the discovery of X-ray flashes (XRFs). Approximately 1/3 of the ~20-25 GRBs per year which HETE localizes are XRFs. HETE's localization sample now includes >25 X-ray flashes (XRFs), with redshifts having been established for two: XRF020903 (z=0.25) and XRF030429 (z=2.66). Following on from the original discovery of XRFs by BeppoSAX, HETE has shown that the discovery space for such rapid, soft cosmological transients is quite large: as a class, XRFs (and X-ray rich GRBs) are more numerous than are classical GRBs. Although XRFs may well be related to GRBs, there are indications that XRFs have spectral peaks (in \nu F\nu) that can extend down to, or even below, 1 keV. Although the BAT instrument on Swift cannot directly explore this low energy range, the slewing of Swift to HETE-discovered XRFs will enable Swift's XRT to conduct target-of-opportunity followup observations. These Swift XRT followup observations are a powerful means of establishing ~3-5 arcsecond localizations from the X-ray afterglows, thus enabling sensitive optical and IR searches for counterparts and subsequent redshift measurements. Properties of the sample of HETE-discovered XRFs will be reviewed, and the implications of the HETE sample for the planning of future missions will be discussed.

The HETE scientific team includes participants from France, Japan, Brazil, India, Italy, and the USA. This research was supported in the USA by NASA contracts NASW-4690 and NAS8-39073.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://space.mit.edu/HETE/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: grr@space.mit.edu

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