GRB 060218/SN 2006aj: A gamma-ray burst and prompt supernova at z = 0.0335

N. Mirabal, J. P. Halpern, D. An, J. R. Thorstensen, D. M. Terndrup

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We report the imaging and spectroscopic localization of GRB 060218 to a low-metallicity dwarf starburst galaxy at z = 0.03345 ± 0.00006. In addition to making it the second nearest gamma-ray burst known, optical spectroscopy reveals the earliest detection of weak, supernova-like Si II near 5720 Å (∼0.1c), starting 1.95 days after the burst trigger. UBVRI photometry obtained between 1 and 26 days postburst confirms the early rise of supernova light, and suggests a short time delay between the gamma-ray burst and the onset of SN 2006aj if the early appearance of a soft component in the X-ray spectrum is understood as a "shock breakout." Together, these results verify the long-hypothesized origin of soft gamma-ray bursts in the deaths of massive stars.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L99-L102
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 II
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2006


  • Gamma rays: bursts
  • Supernovae: general
  • Supernovae: individual (SN 2006aj)


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