AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 19 GRB and SGR
Poster, Monday, 9:20am-7:00pm, January 9, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[19.01] Optical Emission from Gamma-Ray Bursts during the Critical First Few Minutes

W. T. Vestrand, P. R. Wozniak, S. M. Evans, R. R. White, J. A. Wren (LANL), RAPTOR Team

We present measurements of early optical emission from gamma-ray burst counterparts collected with the RAPTOR (RAPid Telescopes for Optical Response) telescopes. The RAPTOR observations show that early optical emission is composed of two components: (1) prompt optical emission that varies in concert with the prompt gamma-ray emission and (2) early optical afterglow emission that persists after the prompt gamma-ray emission has faded. We suggest that the prompt optical emission is generated by the same internal shocks that generate the gamma rays and is therefore a direct probe of the jet and the engine isolated from the surrounding medium. The early afterglow is best explained by a reverse shock that is driven into the jet by interaction with the surroundings and therefore depends on the properties of the external medium. Laboratory Directed Research and Development funding at Los Alamos National Laboratory support the Thinking Telescopes/RAPTOR project.

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