Journal Article

Probing the ambient medium of GRB 090618 with <i>XMM–Newton</i> observations

S. Campana, P. D’Avanzo, D. Lazzati, S. Covino, G. Tagliaferri and N. Panagia

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 418, issue 3, pages 1511-1516
Published in print December 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Probing the ambient medium of GRB 090618 with XMM–Newton observations

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Long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) signal the death of massive stars. The afterglow emission can be used to probe the progenitor ambient through a detailed study of the absorption pattern imprinted by the circumburst material as well as the host galaxy interstellar medium on the continuum spectrum. This has been done at optical wavelengths with impressive results. Similar studies can in principle be carried out in the X-ray band, allowing us to shed light on the material metallicity, composition and distance of the absorber. We start exploiting this route through high-resolution spectroscopy XMM–Newton observations of GRB 090618. We find a high-metallicity absorbing medium (Z≳ 0.2 Z) with possible enhancements of S and Ne with respect to the other elements (improving the fit at a level of >3.4σ). Including the metallicity effects on the X-ray column density determination, the X-ray and optical evaluations of the absorption are in agreement for a Small Magellanic Cloud extinction curve.

Keywords: gamma-ray burst: general; gamma-ray burst: individual: GRB 090618; X-rays: general; X-rays: ISM

Journal Article.  4126 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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