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Astron. Astrophys. 352, L26-L30 (1999)


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Letter to the Editor

VLT observations of GRB 990510 and its environment *

K. Beuermann 1, F.V. Hessman 1, K. Reinsch 1, H. Nicklas 1, P.M. Vreeswijk 2, T.J. Galama 2, E. Rol 2, J. van Paradijs 2,3, C. Kouveliotou 4, F. Frontera 5,6, N. Masetti 5, E. Palazzi 5 and E. Pian 5

1 Universitäts-Sternwarte, Geismarlandstrasse 11, 37083 Göttingen, Germany
2 University of Amsterdam, & Center for High Energy Astrophysics, Astronomical Institute `Anton Pannekoek', Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3 University of Alabama in Huntsville, Physics Department, Huntsville AL 35899, USA NASA Huntsville/Alabama
4 Universities Space Research Association and NASA/MSFC, Code ES-84, Huntsville AL 35812, USA
5 Istituto Tecnologie e Studi Radiazioni Extraterrestri, CNR, via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
6 Universitá di Ferrara, Dipartimento di Fisica, Via Paradiso 12, 44100 Ferrara, Italy

Received 11 August 1999 / Accepted 31 August 1999

Abstract

We present BVRI photometry and spectrophotometry of GRB 990510 obtained with the ESO VLT/Antu telescope during the late decline phase. Between days 8 and 29 after the burst, the afterglow faded from R = 24.2 to [FORMULA]. The spectral flux distribution and the light curve support the interpretation of the afterglow as synchrotron emission from a jet. The light curve is consistent with the optical transient alone but an underlying SN with maximum brightness [FORMULA] or a galaxy with [FORMULA] (3-[FORMULA] upper limits) cannot be ruled out. To a 5-[FORMULA] detection threshold of [FORMULA], no galaxy is found within [FORMULA] of the transient. A very blue [FORMULA] extended object which may qualify as a starburst galaxy is located 12" SE, but at unknown redshift.

Key words: galaxies: general – gamma rays: bursts – cosmology: miscellaneous

* Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile, programs 63.P-0003, 63.H-0009, and 63.O-0567 (B).

Send offprint requests to: beuermann@uni-sw.gwdg.de

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: November 23, 1999

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