Skip to main content
Testing. You are viewing the public testing version of GCN. For the production version, go to
New Announcement Feature, Code of Conduct, Circular Revisions. See news and announcements

GCN Circular 19708

GRB 160623A: optical astrometry, photometry, and redshift
2016-07-14T16:46:12Z (8 years ago)
Daniele Malesani at Dark Cosmology Centre, Niels Bohr Inst <>
D. Malesani (DARK/NBI), A. de Ugarte Postigo (IAA-CSIC and DARK/NBI), M. 
De Pasquale (UCL/MSSL), D. A. Kann (TLS Tautenburg), Z. Cano (Univ. 
Iceland), D. A. Perley (DARK/NBI), L. Izzo (IAA-CSIC), C. C. Thoene 

N. Butler (ASU), A. M. Watson (UNAM), A. Kutyrev (GSFC), W. H. Lee 
(UNAM), M. G. Richer (UNAM), O. Fox (STScI), J. X. Prochaska (UCSC), J. 
S. Bloom (UCB), A. Cucchiara (GSFC/STScI), E. Troja (GSFC), O. 
Littlejohns (ASU), E. Ramirez-Ruiz (UCSC), J. A. de Diego (UNAM), L. 
Georgiev (UNAM), J. Gonzalez (UNAM), C. Roman-Zuniga (UNAM), N. Gehrels 
(GSFC), H. Moseley (GSFC), J. Capone (UMD), V. Zach Golkhou (ASU), and 
V. Toy (UMD), on behalf of the RATIR collaboration,


We observed the field of GRB 160623A (Vianello et al., GCN 19553; 
Frederiks et al., GCN 19554; Mailyan et al., GCN 19555) with the Nordic 
Optical Telescope (NOT) equipped with the AlFOSC imager. Our 
observations had a mid time 2016 July 8.09 UT (14.88 days after the GRB 
trigger) and consisted of 6x300 s in the SDSS i filter.

Close to the position of the optical and X-ray afterglow (Mingo et al., 
GCN 19558; Pozanenko et al., GCN 19561; Butler et al., GCN 19567), we 
detect a bright source at the following coordinates (J2000):

RA = 21:01:11.65
Dec = +42:13:15.0

We measure I = 20.6 +- 0.2 (Vega) against several nearby USNO stars 
(error dominated by the calibration). To determine the relation of this 
object with the GRB afterglow, we cross-registered our image with those 
from RATIR (Butler et al., GCN 19567), yielding an RMS of 0.02". We find 
that the NOT source is offset to the SE of the afterglow by 0.7". This 
source could thus be the host galaxy or an unrelated, foreground star. 
We also note some faint emission in the RATIR image at the NOT 
coordinates, despite being blended with the brighter afterglow.

A picture showing the comparison of the two images is shown here:

A spectrum (3x1200 s exposure) was acquired using the Gran Telescopio 
Canarias (GTC) equipped with OSIRIS, covering the wavelength range 
5100-10,000 AA (grism R1000R), starting on 2016 July 10.163 UT (16.95 
days after the GRB). The slit was centered at the coordinates of the NOT 
object, but also partially overlapped with the afterglow location.

We detect continuum over the whole wavelength range and two emission 
lines in the red part of the spectrum, which we interpret as Halpha and 
[N II] at a common redshift z = 0.367. At the same redshift we also 
detect weak [O III] 5008 (dimmed by the large foreground extinction). 
This is most likely the redshift of GRB 160623A.

The source detected in the NOT image is possibly a foreground star (the 
Galactic latitude is b = -2.7 deg). In the GTC acquisition image, the 
object is pointlike with a seeing of 1.2". On the other hand, inspecting 
the 2D spectrum, the spatial profile of the emission lines is different 
from that of the continuum: the features are wider and elongated towards 
the position of the afterglow. A compact host cannot however be excluded.

At z = 0.367, a SN as bright as SN 1998bw would only reach a peak 
magnitude of I ~ 24.8 (Vega) given the large Galactic extinction (A_I = 
2.2 mag; Schlafly & Finkbeiner 2011). From ground, such a SN would be 
difficult to distinguish against the brighter foreground object.

We acknowledge excellent support from the observers at the NOT (in 
particular Roi Alonso and Diego Hidalgo) and at the GTC.
Looking for U.S. government information and services? Visit