Detection of a supernova signature associated with GRB 011121

J. S. Bloom*, S. R. Kulkarni, P. A. Price, D. Reichart, T. J. Galama, B. P. Schmidt, D. A. Frail, E. Berger, P. J. McCarthy, R. A. Chevalier, J. C. Wheeler, J. P. Halpern, D. W. Fox, S. G. Djorgovski, F. A. Harrison, R. Sari, T. S. Axelrod, R. A. Kimble, J. Holtzman, K. HurleyF. Frontera, L. Piro, E. Costa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Using observations from an extensive monitoring campaign with the Hubble Space Telescope, we present the detection of an intermediate-time flux excess that is redder in color relative to the afterglow of GRB 011121, currently distinguished as the gamma-ray burst with the lowest known redshift. The red "bump," which exhibits a spectral rollover at ∼7200 A, is well described by a redshifted Type le supernova that occurred approximately at the same time as the gamma-ray burst event. The inferred luminosity is about half that of the bright supernova SN 1998bw. These results serve as compelling evidence for a massive star origin of long-duration gamma-ray bursts. Models that posit a supernova explosion weeks to months preceding the gamma-ray burst event are excluded by these observations. Finally, we discuss the relationship between spherical core-collapse supernovae and gamma-ray bursts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)L45-L49
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 II
StatePublished - 10 Jun 2002
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
sights toward the improvement of this work. A. MacFadyen and E. Ramirez-Ruiz are acknowledged for their constructive comments on the Letter. J. S. B. is a Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Fellow. F. A. H. acknowledges support from a Presidential Early Career award. S. R. K. and S. G. D. thank the NSF for support. R. S. is grateful for support from a NASA ATP grant. R. S. and T. J. G. acknowledge support from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation. J. C. W. acknowledges support from NASA grant NAG59302. K. H. is grateful for Ulysses support under JPL contract 958056 and for IPN support under NASA grants FDNAG 5-11451 and NAG 5-17100. Support for Proposal HST-GO-09180.01-A was provided by NASA through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555.


  • Gamma rays: bursts
  • Supernovae: general
  • Supernovae: individual (SN 1998bw)


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