Very High Energy Observations of Gamma-ray Bursts with STACEE


Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most powerful explosions known in the universe. Sensitive measurements of the high-energy spectra of GRBs can place important constraints on the burst environments and radiation processes. Until recently, there were no observations during the first few minutes of GRB afterglows in the energy range between 30 GeV and ~1 TeV. With the launch of the Swift GRB Explorer in late 2004, GRB alerts and localizations within seconds of the bursts became available. The Solar Tower Atmospheric Cherenkov Effect Experiment (STACEE) was a ground-based, gamma-ray telescope with an energy threshold of ~150 GeV for sources at zenith. At the time of Swift’s launch, STACEE was in a rare position to provide >150 GeV follow-up observations of GRBs as fast as three minutes after the burst alert. In addition, STACEE performed follow-up observations of several GRBs that were localized by the HETE-2 and INTEGRAL satellites. Between 2002 June and 2007 July, STACEE made follow-up observations of 23 GRBs. Upper limits are placed on the high-energy gamma-ray fluxes from 21 of these bursts.

In The Astrophysical Journal
John Kildea
John Kildea
Assistant Professor of Medical Physics