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The shock break-out of GRB060218/SN2006aj

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posted on 2006-11-07, 15:55 authored by Sergio Campana, V. Mangano, A.J. Blustin, P. Brown, David N. Burrows, Guido Chincarini, J.R. Cummings, Giancarlo Cusumano, M. Della Valle, D. Malesani, P. Mészáros, John A. Nousek, M. Page, Takanori Sakamoto, E. Waxman, B. Zhang, Z.G. Dai, Neil Gehrels, S. Immler, F.E. Marshall, K.O. Mason, Alberto Moretti, Paul T. O'Brien, Julian P. Osborne, Kim L. Page, Patrizia Romano, P.W.A. Roming, Gianpiero Tagliaferri, L.R. Cominsky, Paolo Giommi, Olivier Godet, Jamie A. Kennea, H. Krimm, Lorella Angelini, Scott D. Barthelmy, P.T. Boyd, D.M. Palmer, Alan A. Wells, N.E. White
Although the link between long Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) and supernovae (SNe) has been established, hitherto there have been no observations of the beginning of a supernova explosion and its intimate link to a GRB. In particular, we do not know however how a GRB jet emerges from the star surface nor how a GRB progenitor explodes. Here we report on observations of the close GRB060218 and its connection to SN2006aj. In addition to the classical non-thermal emission, GRB060218 shows a thermal component in its X–ray spectrum, which cools and shifts into the optical/UV band as time passes. We interpret these features as arising from the break out of a shock driven by a mildly relativistic shell into the dense wind surrounding the progenitor. Our observations allow us for the first time to catch a SN in the act of exploding, to directly observe the shock break-out and to provide strong evidence that the GRB progenitor was a Wolf-Rayet star.



Nature, 2006, 442, pp.1008-1010.


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