Gamma-ray burster counterparts: Archival data

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This paper reports on the results of a search for optical transient images associated with gamma-ray bursters based on the collection of archival photographs at the Harvard College Observatory. This study searched through over 32,000 plates showing 16 gamma-ray burst error regions. The primary result is the identification of three optical transient images. The recurrence time scale for optical events with a gamma-ray to optical fluence ratio of less than 1000 is estimated to be 1.3 yr (with a 99% confidence interval of between 0.41 and 4.8 yr). A control study was simultaneously made where regions of the sky with no bursters were examined. The control region was 15.6 times larger than the burst search region, yet no optical transients were found. This paper describes in detail the methodology and the statistical results. Close attention is paid to a detailed analysis of the three optical transient images.

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Astrophysical Journal

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