Neil Gehrels - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Neil Gehrels
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Neil Gehrels
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
United States

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (39)
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (10)
Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (9)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (6)
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (4)
General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (1)
Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (1)

Publications Authored By Neil Gehrels

Affiliations: 1GWU, 2GWU, 3ASTRON, 4Rice University, 5GWU, 6NASA/Goddard, 7ASTRON, 8NASA/Goddard, 9The Open University, 10New York University, 11The Open University, 12Sabancı University, 13Beijing Normal University

We analyzed broad-band X-ray and radio data of the magnetar SGR J1935+2154 taken in the aftermath of its 2014, 2015, and 2016 outbursts. The source soft X-ray spectrum <10 keV is well described with a BB+PL or 2BB model during all three outbursts. NuSTAR observations revealed a hard X-ray tail, $\Gamma=0. Read More

Quasi-simultaneous observations of the Flat Spectrum Radio Quasar PKS 2326-502 were carried out in the gamma-ray, X-ray, UV, optical, near-infrared, and radio bands. Thanks to these observations we are able to characterize the spectral energy distribution of the source during two flaring and one quiescent gamma-ray states. These data were used to constrain one-zone leptonic models of the spectral energy distributions of each flare and investigate the physical conditions giving rise to them. Read More

We investigate the observed relationship between black hole mass ($M_{\rm BH}$), bolometric luminosity ($L_{\rm bol}$), and Eddington ratio (${\lambda}_{\rm Edd}$) with optical emission line ratios ([NII] {\lambda}6583/H{\alpha}, [SII] {\lambda}{\lambda}6716,6731/H{\alpha}, [OI] {\lambda}6300/H{\alpha}, [OIII] {\lambda}5007/H{\beta}, [NeIII] {\lambda}3869/H{\beta}, and HeII {\lambda}4686/H{\beta}) of hard X-ray-selected AGN from the BAT AGN Spectroscopic Survey (BASS). We show that the [NII] {\lambda}6583/H{\alpha} ratio exhibits a significant correlation with ${\lambda}_{\rm Edd}$ ($R_{\rm Pear}$ = -0.44, $p$-value=$3\times10^{-13}$, {\sigma} = 0. Read More

Affiliations: 1Space Telescope Science Institute and Center for Astrophysical Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, 2U. Md/GSFC and Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, and National Solar Observatory, University of Colorado Boulder, 3USRA/CRESST and NASA/GSFC, 4USRA/CRESST, 5University of Leicester, 6University of Athens, 7Penn State, 8Instituto de Astrofsica de Andaluc ía, 9UCL, 10Universidad de Huelva, Spain, 11Masaryk University, Czech Republic, 12Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic, 13NASA/GSFC

On April 23, 2014, the Swift satellite responded to a hard X-ray transient detected by its Burst Alert Telescope, which turned out to be a stellar flare from a nearby, young M dwarf binary DG~CVn. We utilize observations at X-ray, UV, optical, and radio wavelengths to infer the properties of two large flares. The X-ray spectrum of the primary outburst can be described over the 0. Read More

Models of nova outbursts suggest that an X-ray flash should occur just after hydrogen ignition. However, this X-ray flash has never been observationally confirmed. We present four theoretical light curves of the X-ray flash for two very massive white dwarfs (WDs) of 1. Read More

High-redshift Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) beyond redshift $\sim6$ are potentially powerful tools to probe the distant early Universe. Their detections in large numbers and at truly high redshifts call for the next generation of high-energy wide-field instruments with unprecedented sensitivity at least one order of magnitude higher than the ones currently in orbit. On the other hand, follow-up observations of the afterglows of high-redshift GRBs and identification of their host galaxies, which would be difficult for the currently operating telescopes, require new, extremely large facilities of at multi-wavelengths. Read More

DDOTI will be a wide-field robotic imager consisting of six 28-cm telescopes with prime focus CCDs mounted on a common equatorial mount. Each telescope will have a field of view of 12 square degrees, will have 2 arcsec pixels, and will reach a 10-sigma limiting magnitude in 60 seconds of r = 18.7 in dark time and r = 18. Read More

We present and discuss ultraviolet and optical photometry from the Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope and X-ray limits from the X-Ray Telescope on Swift and imaging polarimetry and ultraviolet/optical spectroscopy with the Hubble Space Telescope of ASASSN-15lh. It has been classified as a hydrogen-poor superluminous supernova (SLSN I) more luminous than any other supernova observed. ASASSN-15lh is not detected in the X-rays in individual or coadded observations. Read More

Simultaneous broadband spectral and temporal studies of blazars are an important tool for investigating active galactic nuclei (AGN) jet physics. We study the spectral evolution between quiescent and flaring periods of 22 radio-loud AGN through multi-epoch, quasi-simultaneous broadband spectra. For many of these sources these are the first broadband studies. Read More

We investigate the relationship between X-ray and optical line emission in 340 nearby AGN selected above 10 keV using Swift BAT. We find a weak correlation between the extinction corrected [O III] and hard X-ray luminosity (14-195 keV) with a [OIII] large scatter (R_Pear = 0.64, sigma = 0. Read More

As part of the TANAMI multiwavelength progam, we discuss new X-ray observations of the $\gamma$-ray and radio-loud Narrow Line Seyfert galaxy ($\gamma$-NLS1) PKS 2004-447. The active galaxy is a member of a small sample of radio-loud NLS1s detected in $\gamma$-rays by the Fermi Large Area Telescope. It is the radio-loudest and only southern-hemisphere source in this sample. Read More

We introduce the first phase of the Kepler-Swift Active Galaxies and Stars survey (KSwAGS), a simultaneous X-ray and UV survey of ~6 square degrees of the Kepler field using the Swift XRT and UVOT. We detect 93 unique X-ray sources with S/N>3 with the XRT, of which 60 have observed UV counterparts. We use the Kepler Input Catalog (KIC) to obtain the optical counterparts of these sources, and construct the X-ray to optical flux ratio as a first approximation of the classification of the source. Read More

In this work we continue a line of inquiry begun in Kanner et al. which detailed a strategy for utilizing telescopes with narrow fields of view, such as the Swift X-ray Telescope (XRT), to localize gravity wave (GW) triggers from LIGO/Virgo. If one considers the brightest galaxies that produce ~50% of the light, then the number of galaxies inside typical GW error boxes will be several tens. Read More

We study the host galaxy properties of the tidal disruption object, Swift J164449.3+573451 using long-term optical to near-infrared (NIR) data. First, we decompose the galaxy surface brightness distribution and analyze the morphology of the host galaxy using high resolution \emph{HST} WFC3 images. Read More

Type Ia supernovae are destructive explosions of carbon oxygen white dwarfs. Although they are used empirically to measure cosmological distances, the nature of their progenitors remains mysterious, One of the leading progenitor models, called the single degenerate channel, hypothesizes that a white dwarf accretes matter from a companion star and the resulting increase in its central pressure and temperature ignites thermonuclear explosion. Here we report observations of strong but declining ultraviolet emission from a Type Ia supernova within four days of its explosion. Read More

NASA's Swift satellite has completed ten years of amazing discoveries in time domain astronomy. Its primary mission is to chase gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), but due to its scheduling flexibility it has subsequently become a prime discovery machine for new types of behavior. The list of major discoveries in GRBs and other transients includes the long-lived X-ray afterglows and flares from GRBs, the first accurate localization of short GRBs, the discovery of GRBs at high redshift (z>8), supernova shock break-out from SN Ib, a jetted tidal disruption event, an ultra-long class of GRBs, high energy emission from flare stars, novae and supernovae with unusual characteristics, magnetars with glitches in their spin periods, and a short GRB with evidence of an accompanying kilonova. Read More

The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has greatly expanded the number and energy window of observations of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). However, the coarse localizations of tens to a hundred square degrees provided by the Fermi GRB Monitor instrument have posed a formidable obstacle to locating the bursts' host galaxies, measuring their redshifts, and tracking their panchromatic afterglows. We have built a target-of-opportunity mode for the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory in order to perform targeted searches for Fermi afterglows. Read More

The Wide-Field InfraRed Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is a NASA space mission in study for launch in 2024. It has a 2.4 m telescope, wide-field IR instrument operating in the 0. Read More

NASA's proposed WFIRST-AFTA mission will discover thousands of exoplanets with separations from the habitable zone out to unbound planets, using the technique of gravitational microlensing. The Study Analysis Group 11 of the NASA Exoplanet Program Analysis Group was convened to explore scientific programs that can be undertaken now, and in the years leading up to WFIRST's launch, in order to maximize the mission's scientific return and to reduce technical and scientific risk. This report presents those findings, which include suggested precursor Hubble Space Telescope observations, a ground-based, NIR microlensing survey, and other programs to develop and deepen community scientific expertise prior to the mission. Read More

Relativistic jets are streams of plasma moving at appreciable fractions of the speed of light. They have been observed from stellar mass black holes ($\sim$3$-$20 solar masses, M$_\odot$) as well as supermassive black holes ($\sim$10$^6$$-$10$^9$ M$_\odot$) found in the centres of most galaxies. Jets should also be produced by intermediate mass black holes ($\sim$10$^2$$-$10$^5$ M$_\odot$), although evidence for this third class of black hole has until recently been weak. Read More

The gamma-ray burst (GRB) rate is essential for revealing the connection between GRBs, supernovae and stellar evolution. Additionally, the GRB rate at high redshift provides a strong probe of star formation history in the early universe. While hundreds of GRBs are observed by Swift, it remains difficult to determine the intrinsic GRB rate due to the complex trigger algorithm of Swift. Read More

The Swift/Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) hard X-ray transient monitor provides near real-time coverage of the X-ray sky in the energy range 15-50 keV. The BAT observes 88% of the sky each day with a detection sensitivity of 5.3 mCrab for a full-day observation and a time resolution as fine as 64 seconds. Read More

The long gamma-ray burst (GRB) rate is essential for revealing the connection between GRBs, supernovae and stellar evolution. Additionally, the GRB rate at high redshift provides a strong probe of star formation history in the early universe. While hundreds of GRBs are observed by Swift, it remains difficult to determine the intrinsic GRB rate due to the complex trigger algorithm of Swift. Read More

Observations of many SNe Ia with the UVOT instrument on the Swift satellite has revealed that there exists order to the differences in the UV-OPT colors of normal SNe. We examine UV-OPT color curves for 25 SNe Ia, dividing them into 4 groups, finding that ~1/3 of these SNe Ia have bluer UV-OPT colors than the larger group, with these "NUV-blue" SNe Ia 0.4 mag bluer than the "NUV-red" SNe Ia in u-v. Read More

We report the discovery of the optical afterglow of the gamma-ray burst (GRB) 130702A, identified upon searching 71 square degrees surrounding the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) localization. Discovered and characterized by the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF), iPTF13bxl is the first afterglow discovered solely based on a GBM localization. Real-time image subtraction, machine learning, human vetting, and rapid response multi-wavelength follow-up enabled us to quickly narrow a list of 27,004 optical transient candidates to a single afterglow-like source. Read More

Affiliations: 1University of Durham, 2University of Durham, 3University of Alberta, 4University of Leicester, 5University of Leicester, 6University of Leicester, 7NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

We present a multi-mission X-ray analysis of a bright (peak observed 0.3-10 keV luminosity of ~ 6x10^{40} erg s^{-1}), but relatively highly absorbed ULX in the edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 5907. The ULX is spectrally hard in X-rays (Gamma ~ 1. Read More

We have identified a merging galaxy cluster with evidence of two distinct sub-clusters. The X-ray and optical data suggest that the subclusters are moving away from each other after closest approach. This cluster merger was discovered from observations of the well localized short-duration gamma-ray burst (GRB), GRB 050509B. Read More

When a massive star explodes as a Gamma Ray Burst information about this explosion is retained in the properties of the prompt and afterglow emission. We report on new relationships between the prompt and X-ray afterglow emission of Swift-detected Gamma Ray Bursts found from BAT and XRT data between 2004 December and 2013 August (754 GRBs). These relations suggest that the prompt and afterglow emission are closely linked. Read More

The International Space Station offers a unique platform for rapid and inexpensive deployment of space telescopes. A scientific opportunity of great potential later this decade is the use of telescopes for the electromagnetic follow-up of ground-based gravitational wave detections of neutron star and black hole mergers. We describe this possibility for OpTIIX, an ISS technology demonstration of a 1. Read More

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are among the most violent occurrences in the universe. They are powerful explosions, visible to high redshift, and thought to be the signature of black hole birth. They are highly luminous events and provide excellent probes of the distant universe. Read More

Black holes generate collimated, relativistic jets which have been observed in gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), microquasars, and at the center of some galaxies (active galactic nuclei; AGN). How jet physics scales from stellar black holes in GRBs to the supermassive ones in AGNs is still unknown. Here we show that jets produced by AGNs and GRBs exhibit the same correlation between the kinetic power carried by accelerated particles and the gamma-ray luminosity, with AGNs and GRBs lying at the low and high-luminosity ends, respectively, of the correlation. Read More

We discuss scientific, technical and programmatic issues related to the use of an NRO 2.4m telescope for the WFIRST initiative of the 2010 Decadal Survey. We show that this implementation of WFIRST, which we call "NEW WFIRST," would achieve the goals of the NWNH Decadal Survey for the WFIRST core programs of Dark Energy and Microlensing Planet Finding, with the crucial benefit of deeper and/or wider near-IR surveys for GO science and a potentially Hubble-like Guest Observer program. Read More

Affiliations: 1INAF/IASF Bologna, 2INAF/IASF Bologna, 3INAF/IASF Bologna, 4INAF/IASF Bologna, 5INAF/IASF Bologna, 6INAF/IAPS Rome, 7University of Southampton, 8NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Many sources in the fourth INTEGRAL/IBIS catalogue are still unidentified, since they lack an optical counterpart. An important tool that can help in identifying/classifying these sources is the cross-correlation with radio catalogues, which are very sensitive and positionally accurate. Moreover, the radio properties of a source, such as the spectrum or morphology, could provide further insight into its nature. Read More

Binary neutron star (NS) mergers are among the most promising astrophysical sources of gravitational wave emission for Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo, expected to be operational in 2015. Finding electromagnetic counterparts to these signals will be essential to placing them in an astronomical context. The Swift satellite carries a sensitive X-ray telescope (XRT), and can respond to target-of-opportunity requests within 1-2 hours, and so is uniquely poised to find the X-ray counterparts to LIGO/Virgo triggers. Read More

Gamma-ray bursts are the most luminous explosions in the Universe, whose origin and mechanism is the focus of intense interest. They appear connected to supernova remnants from massive stars or the merger of their remnants, and their brightness makes them temporarily detectable out to the larges distances yet explored in the Universe. After pioneering breakthroughs from space and ground experiments, their study is entering a new phase with observations from the recently launched \fermi satellite, as well as the prospect of detections or limits from large neutrino and gravitational wave detectors. Read More

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are bright flashes of gamma-rays coming from the cosmos. They occur roughly once per day, last typically 10s of seconds and are the most luminous events in the universe. More than three decades after their discovery, and after pioneering advances from space and ground experiments, they still remain mysterious. Read More

We present an overview of high energy transients in astrophysics, highlighting important advances over the past 50 years. We begin with early discoveries of gamma-ray transients, and then delve into physical details associated with a variety of phenomena. We discuss some of the unexpected transients found by Fermi and Swift, many of which are not easily classifiable or in some way challenge conventional wisdom. Read More

We present the results of our broadband spectral analysis of 42 SGR J1550-5418 bursts simultaneously detected with the Swift/X-ray Telescope (XRT) and the Fermi/Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM), during the 2009 January active episode of the source. The unique spectral and temporal capabilities of the XRT Windowed Timing mode have allowed us to extend the GBM spectral coverage for these events down to the X-ray domain (0.5-10 keV). Read More

GRB 120422A is a low-luminosity Gamma-ray burst (GRB) associated with a bright supernova, which distinguishes itself by its relatively short T90 ~ 5 s and an energetic X-ray tail. We analyze the Swift BAT and XRT data and discuss the physical implications. We show that the early steep decline in the X-ray light curve can be interpreted as the curvature tail of a late emission episode around 58-86 s, with a curved instantaneous spectrum at the end of the emission episode. Read More

In this review we confront the current theoretical understanding of particle acceleration at relativistic outflows with recent observational results on various source classes thought to involve such outflows, e.g. gamma-ray bursts, active galactic nuclei, and pulsar wind nebulae. Read More

We present broad-band observations of the afterglow and environment of the short GRB 111020A. An extensive X-ray light curve from Swift/XRT, XMM-Newton and Chandra, spanning ~100 seconds to 10 days after the burst, reveals a significant break at t~2 days with pre- and post-break decline rates of alphaX,1 ~ -0.78 and alphaX,2<-1. Read More

This document describes the exposure time calculator for the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) high-latitude survey. The calculator works in both imaging and spectroscopic modes. In addition to the standard ETC functions (e. Read More

The double burst, GRB 110709B, triggered Swift/BAT twice at 21:32:39 UT and 21:43:45 UT, respectively, on 9 July 2011. This is the first time we observed a GRB with two BAT triggers. In this paper, we present simultaneous Swift and Konus-WIND observations of this unusual GRB and its afterglow. Read More

On August 24 (UT) the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) discovered PTF11kly (SN 2011fe), the youngest and most nearby type Ia supernova (SN Ia) in decades. We followed this event up in the radio (centimeter and millimeter bands) and X-ray bands, starting about a day after the estimated explosion time. We present our analysis of the radio and X-ray observations, yielding the tightest constraints yet placed on the pre-explosion mass-loss rate from the progenitor system of this supernova. Read More