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Swift triggered on a precursor to the main burst of GRB 061121 (z = 1.314), allowing observations to be made from the optical to gamma-ray bands. Many other telescopes, including Konus-Wind, XMM-Newton, ROTSE, and the Faulkes Telescope North, also observed the burst. The gamma-ray, X-ray, and UV/optical emission all showed a peak ∼75 s after the trigger, although the optical and X-ray afterglow components also appear early on, before or during the main peak. Spectral evolution was seen throughout the burst, with the prompt emission showing a clear positive correlation between brightness and hardness. The SED of the prompt emission, stretching from 1 eV up to 1 MeV, is very flat, with a peak in the flux density at ∼1 keV. The optical to X-ray spectra at this time are better fitted by a broken, rather than single, power law, similar to previous results for X-ray flares. The SED shows spectral hardening as the afterglow evolves with time. This behavior might be a symptom of self-Comptonization, although circumstellar densities similar to those found in the cores of molecular clouds would be required. The afterglow also decays too slowly to be accounted for by the standard models. Although the precursor and main emission show different spectral lags, both are consistent with the lag-luminosity correlation for long bursts. GRB 061121 is the instantaneously brightest long burst yet detected by Swift. Using a combination of Swift and Konus-Wind data, we estimate an isotropic energy of 2.8 × 1053 ergs over 1 keV - 10 MeV in the GRB rest frame. A probable jet break is detected at ∼2 × 105 s, leading to an estimate of ∼10 51 ergs for the beaming-corrected gamma-ray energy. © 2007. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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Astrophysical Journal

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