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AuthorsP.M. Vreeswijk, A. Fruchter, L. Kaper, E. Rol, T.J. Galama, J.A. van Paradijs, C. Kouveliotou, R.A.M.J. Wijers, E. Pian, E. Palazzi, N. Masetti, F. Frontera, S. Savaglio, K. Reinsch, F.V. Hesman, K. Beuermann, H. Nicklas, E.P.J. van den Heuvel
TitleVLT spectroscopy of GRB 990510 and GRB 990712; probing the faint and bright ends of the GRB host galaxy population
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume546
Year2000
Issue2
Pages672-680
ISSN0004637X
FacultyFaculty of Science
Institute/dept.FNWI: Astronomical Institute Anton Pannekoek (IAP)
KeywordsRedshifts; Gamma ray bursts
AbstractWe present time-resolved optical spectroscopy of the afterglows of the gamma-ray bursts GRB 990510 and GRB 990712. Through the identification of several absorption lines in the first-epoch GRB 990510 spectrum, we determine the redshift for this burst at z>=1.619. No clear emission lines are detected. The strength of the Mg I feature is indicative of a dense environment, most likely the host galaxy of GRB 990510. Although the host is extremely faint (V>~28), the GRB afterglow allows us to probe its interstellar medium and-in principle-to measure its metallicity. The optical spectrum of GRB 990712 (whose host galaxy is the brightest of the known GRB hosts at cosmological redshifts) shows clear features both in emission and absorption, at a redshift of z=0.4331+/-0.0004. On the basis of several line emission diagnostic diagrams, we conclude that the host galaxy of GRB 990712 is most likely an H II galaxy. We derive an unreddened [O II] star formation rate of 2.7+/-0.8 Msolar yr-1. Correcting for the measured extinction intrinsic to the host galaxy (AV=3.4+2.4-1.7), this value increases to 35+178-25 Msolar yr-1. The [O II] equivalent width, compared to that of field galaxies at z<=1, also suggests that the host of GRB 990712 is vigorously forming stars. We employ the oxygen and Hbeta emission-line intensities to estimate the global oxygen abundance for the host of GRB 990712: log(O/H)=-3.7+/-0.4, which is slightly below the lowest metallicity one finds in nearby spiral galaxies. For both GRBs we study the time evolution of the absorption lines, whose equivalent width might be expected to change with time if the burst resides in a dense compact medium. We find no evidence for a significant change in the Mg II width. Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Chile; proposal 63.O-0567.
Note©2000 American Astronomical Society
Document typeArticle
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