Limits on very high energy emission from gamma-ray bursts with the Milagro observatory

R. Atkins, W. Benbow, D. Berley, E. Blaufuss, J. Bussons, D. G. Coyne, T. DeYoung, B. L. Dingus, D. E. Dorfan, R. W. Ellsworth, L. Fleysher, R. Fleysher, G. Gisler, M. M. Gonzalez, J. A. Goodman, T. J. Haines, E. Hays, C. M. Hoffman, L. A. Kelley, J. E. McEneryR. S. Miller, A. I. Mincer, M. F. Morales, P. Nemethy, D. Noyes, J. M. Ryan, F. W. Samuelson, A. Shoup, G. Sinnis, A. J. Smith, G. W. Sullivan, D. A. Williams, S. Westerhoff, M. E. Wilson, X. Xu, G. B. Yodh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The Milagro telescope monitors the northern sky for 100 GeV-100 TeV transient emission through continuous very high energy (VHE) wide-field observations. The large effective area and ∼100 GeV energy threshold of Milagro allow it to detect VHE gamma-ray burst (GRB) emission with much higher sensitivity than previous instruments and a fluence sensitivity at VHE energies comparable to that of dedicated GRB satellites at keV-MeV energies. Even in the absence of a positive detection, VHE observations can place important constraints on GRB progenitor and emission models. We present limits on the VHE flux of 40 s-3 hr duration transients near Earth as well as sensitivity distributions that have been corrected for gamma-ray absorption by extragalactic background light and cosmological effects. The sensitivity distributions suggest that the typical intrinsic VHE fluence of GRBs is similar to or weaker than the keV-MeV emission, and we demonstrate how these sensitivity distributions may be used to place observational constraints on the absolute VHE luminosity of GRBs for any GRB emission and progenitor model.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)L25-L28
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Volume604
    Issue number1 II
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Mar 20 2004

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science

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