The gamma-ray burst (GRB) 010222 is the brightest GRB detected to date by the BeppoSAX satellite. Prompt identification of the associated optical transient (OT) allowed for spectroscopy with the Tillinghast 1.5 m telescope at F. L. Whipple Observatory while the source was still relatively bright (R ≃ 18.6 mag), within 5 hr of the burst. The OT shows a blue continuum with many superposed absorption features corresponding to metal lines at z = 1.477, 1.157, and possibly also 0.928. The redshift of GRB 010222 is therefore unambiguously placed at z ≥ 1.477. The high number of Mg II absorbers and especially the large equivalent widths of the Mg II, Mg I, and Fe II absorption lines in the z = 1.477 system further argue either for a very small impact parameter or that the z = 1.477 system is the GRB host galaxy itself. The spectral index of the OT is relatively steep, Fv α ν-0.89±0.03, and this cannot be caused by dust with a standard Galactic extinction law in the z = 1.477 absorption system. This spectroscopic identification of the redshift of GRB 010222 shows that prompt and wellcoordinated follow-up of bright GRBs can be successful even with telescopes of modest aperture.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science
- Galaxies: ISM
- Galaxies: distances and redshifts
- Gamma rays: bursts
- Ultraviolet: galaxies