The High Energy Transient Explorer 2 (HETE-2), launched in October 2000, is currently localizing gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) at a rate of ̃20 yr -1, many in real time. As of September 2003, HETE-2 had localized 47 GRBs; 16 localizations had led to the detection of an X-ray, optical, or radio afterglows. The prompt position notification of HETE-2 enabled probing the nature of so-called "dark bursts" for which no optical afterglows were found despite of accurate localizations. In some cases, the optical afterglow was found to be intrinsically faint, and its flux declined rapidly. In another case, the optical emission was likely to be extinguished by the dust in the vicinity of the GRB source. The bright afterglows of GRB021004 and GRB030329 were observed in unprecedented details by telescopes around the world. Strong evidence for the association of long GRBs with the core-collapse supernovae was found. HETE-2 has localized almost as many X-ray rich GRBs as classical GRBs. The nature of the X-ray rich GRBs and X-ray flashes have been studied systematically with HETE-2, and they are found to have many properties in common with the classical GRBs, suggesting that they are a single phenomenon.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)