The Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission Italian site U.K. site

Swift Cycle 8 Results

The lists below contain the proposals recommended by the Cycle 8 Peer Review panel. Note that in addition to the accepted programs below, ToO requests for exceptional transients will continue to be possible through the Swift ToO web site, even for ToOs not accepted into the GI Program. The decision on whether or not to observe a ToO of either category will be made by the Swift Principal Investigator.

PIs of Cycle 8 proposals for observation: Please note that the Cycle 8 ROSES 2011 Appendix D.5 "Swift Guest Investigator Cycle 8" states:

"It is the responsibility of the PI to alert the Swift Observatory Duty Scientist when trigger conditions for their accepted ToO have been met. This is done through the Swift ToO Request Form at https://www.swift.psu.edu/secure/toop/too_request.htm. It is highly recommended that ToO proposers register as Swift ToO users in advance at https://www.swift.psu.edu/secure/toop/too_newuser.htm. Registration is required in order to submit a ToO Request."

ToO proposals must have an astrophysical trigger. Once the trigger criteria have been met for an approved target, the PI should check if the target location is more than 5 hours in RA from the Sun and more than 20 degrees from the Moon before requesting Swift observations (http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/Tools/Viewing.html). ToO observations that require more than 6 ks on a given day and are closer to the Sun than 5 hours RA will be less likely to be approved unless they are of exceptionally high scientific priority. Observations greater than 9 hours in RA from the Sun are particularly desirable. The purpose of the anti-Sun restriction for ToOs is to maximize the amount of time Swift is pointed toward the night sky in order to optimize optical follow-up observations of BAT-detected GRBs.

Accepted Cycle 8 ToO proposals may be triggered between April 1, 2012, and March 31, 2013.

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Funding Only Proposals

Proposal PI		Title
8110135 BUTLER THE REIONIZATION AND TRANSIENTS IR CAMERA: A HIGH-Z GRB SEARCH MACHINE
8110013 PROCHASKA GRB AFTERGLOWS AS PROBES (GRAASP)
8110020 CHORNOCK "RAPID OPTICAL AND NEAR-INFRARED SPECTROSCOPY OF SWIFT GRBS: COSMIC REIONIZATION, METAL ENRICHMENT, AND HIGH-Z HOSTS"
8110037 ZAUDERER A RENAISSANCE OF GRB RADIO STUDIES WITH THE EXPANDED VLA
8110030 LYUTIKOV THE ELECTROMAGNETIC MODEL OF SHORT GRBS AND THE NATURE OF PROMPT TAILS
8110077 BLOOM PAIRITEL: INFRARED STUDIES OF SWIFT GRBS AND TRANSIENTS
8110136 SPITKOVSKY PARTICLE ACCELERATION AND FIELD GENERATION IN EARLY AFTERGLOWS OF GRBS

Observing Proposals

Definition of Columns

  1. Proposal: Proposal number assigned by Swift mission
  2. PI: Principal Investigator's last name
  3. Num: Target number as listed on the proposal form
  4. Target_Name: Target name as listed on proposal forms
  5. RA: Right Ascension (equinox J2000) in degrees
  6. Dec: Declination (equinox J2000) in degrees
  7. Time: Total observing time approved, in ksec
  8. ToO: "Y" if Target of Opportunity proposal, otherwise "N"


Proposal PI Num Target_Name RA DEC Time ToO
8110001 BODEWITS 1 C/2009 P1 (GARRADD) 0 0 20.8 N
8110015 KRIMM 1 SWIFT JXXXX.X+XXXX 0 0 63 Y
8110015 KRIMM 2 SWIFT JXXXX.X+XXXX 0 0 63 Y
8110015 KRIMM 3 SWIFT JXXXX.X+XXXX 0 0 63 Y
8110015 KRIMM 4 SWIFT JXXXX.X+XXXX 0 0 63 Y
8110015 KRIMM 5 BLACK HOLE TRANSIENT 0 0 60 Y
8110015 KRIMM 6 BLACK HOLE TRANSIENT 0 0 60 Y
8110023 FOSCHINI 1 PKS 1502+036 226.277 3.44189 20 N
8110023 FOSCHINI 2 SDSS J1246+0238 191.644 2.63583 20 N
8110023 FOSCHINI 3 FBQS J1102+2239 165.597 22.6557 20 N
8110023 FOSCHINI 4 SBS 0846+513 132.491 51.1413 20 N
8110033 CHEUNG 1 FERMI-TOO1 0 0 20 Y
8110033 CHEUNG 2 FERMI-TOO2 0 0 20 Y
8110033 CHEUNG 3 FERMI-TOO3 0 0 20 Y
8110038 HALPERN 1 1E 1547.0-5408 237.725 -54.306 180 N
8110041 MILLER 1 BLACK HOLE TRANSIENT 0 0 1 Y
8110043 SORIA 1 P13 IN NGC7793 359.462 -32.623 100 N
8110045 SOLERI 1 GRS 1915+105 288.798 10.9455 30 Y
8110049 EDELSON 1 1929+46 292.460 46.3733 8 N
8110049 EDELSON 2 1858+48 284.504 48.8398 8 N
8110049 EDELSON 3 1925+50 291.259 50.7205 8 N
8110049 EDELSON 4 1914+44 288.508 44.6449 4 N
8110049 EDELSON 5 1911+50 287.931 50.6166 4 N
8110049 EDELSON 6 1931+43 292.802 43.2243 4 N
8110049 EDELSON 7 1926+42 291.629 42.1664 1 N
8110049 EDELSON 8 1931+38 292.814 38.4714 1 N
8110049 EDELSON 9 1920+38 290.198 38.4448 1 N
8110049 EDELSON 10 1904+37 286.244 37.9281 1 N
8110049 EDELSON 11 1909+48 287.443 48.5755 1 N
8110049 EDELSON 12 1922+45 290.546 45.6350 1 N
8110049 EDELSON 13 1914+42 288.564 42.0833 1 N
8110049 EDELSON 14 1845+48 281.498 48.2798 1 N
8110049 EDELSON 15 1853+40 283.330 40.8934 1 N
8110049 EDELSON 16 1910+38 287.510 38.0026 1 N
8110049 EDELSON 17 1923+47 290.863 47.9047 1 N
8110057 BARNARD 1 M31 BULGE SOURCES 10.7875 41.2236 75 Y
8110084 WILLIAMS 1 NEW VHE BLAZAR #1 0 0 15 Y
8110084 WILLIAMS 2 NEW VHE BLAZAR #2 0 0 15 Y
8110084 WILLIAMS 3 NEW VHE BLAZAR #3 0 0 15 Y
8110089 FOLEY 1 HST SN 0 0 72 Y
8110094 O'BRIEN 1 GX339-4 255.705 -48.789 23 N
8110094 O'BRIEN 2 GX349+2 256.435 -36.423 23 N
8110094 O'BRIEN 3 4U 1735-444 264.722 -44.45 23 N
8110096 GODON 1 V3885 SGR 296.918 -42.007 12 N
8110096 GODON 2 RW SEX 154.985 -8.6989 15 N
8110096 GODON 3 MV LYR 286.817 44.0188 15 N
8110097 KENNEA 1 BHB #1 0 0 50 Y
8110097 KENNEA 2 BHB #2 0 0 50 Y
8110106 REYNOLDS 1 3C120 68.2962 5.35444 46 N
8110108 BODAGHEE 1 NEW IGR SOURCE 0 0 2 Y
8110108 BODAGHEE 2 NEW IGR SOURCE 0 0 2 Y
8110108 BODAGHEE 3 NEW IGR SOURCE 0 0 2 Y
8110108 BODAGHEE 4 NEW IGR SOURCE 0 0 2 Y
8110108 BODAGHEE 5 NEW IGR SOURCE 0 0 2 Y
8110108 BODAGHEE 6 NEW IGR SOURCE 0 0 2 Y
8110108 BODAGHEE 7 NEW IGR SOURCE 0 0 2 Y
8110108 BODAGHEE 8 NEW IGR SOURCE 0 0 2 Y
8110108 BODAGHEE 9 NEW IGR SOURCE 0 0 2 Y
8110108 BODAGHEE 10 NEW IGR SOURCE 0 0 2 Y
8110109 TOMSICK 1 BH TRANSIENT 0 0 54 Y
8110110 ALTAMIRANO 1 TERZAN 5 267.020 -24.78 15 N
8110110 ALTAMIRANO 2 NGC 6388 264.072 -44.735 15 N
8110110 ALTAMIRANO 3 NGC 6266 255.302 -30.112 15 N
8110110 ALTAMIRANO 4 NGC 6440 267.219 -20.359 15 N
8110124 HOMAN 1 XTE J1701-462 255.243 -46.185 30 N
8110132 WARGELIN 1 PROXIMA CEN 217.399 -62.676 46 N
8110133 BUTLER 1 TIDAL FLARE 1 0 0 50 Y
8110133 BUTLER 2 TIDAL FLARE 2 0 0 50 Y
8110134 MCENERY 1 GRB0 0 0 10 Y
8110144 ERRANDO 1 3C 279 194.046 -5.7893 15 Y
8110144 ERRANDO 2 4C 21.35 186.226 21.3795 15 Y
8110151 WINDHORST 1 J215144.9-302151 327.937 -30.364 4 N

Proposal Abstracts

8110001 DENNIS BODEWITS/UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND (COLLEGE PARK)

"WHAT DRIVES THE ACTIVITY OF BRIGHT COMET C/2009 P1 (GARRADD)?"

 

Comets are considered left-overs from the early Solar System, identified by the fuzzy cloud of gas and dust that surrounds them. However, activity of comets beyond 3 AU from the Sun is poorly understood. We will use the UV grism to quantitatively measure gas and dust content in the coma of comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd) as a function of heliocentric distance. This will allow us to reveal the regimes where H2O and CO2 dominate the comet s activity as the comet recedes from the Sun. This comet is an excellent target because its orbit and activity make it observable even at large heliocentric distances. The unique capabilities of the UV grisms allow us to characterize the comet s activity as a function of heliocentric distance when it is outside the grasp of most ground based observatories.

 

8110013 JASON PROCHASKA/UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA (SANTA CRUZ)

"GRB AFTERGLOWS AS PROBES (GRAASP)"

 

We propose to continue our on-going effort to carry out target-of-opportunity (ToO) observations of GRBs discovered with Swift. The primary objective of the proposed program is to apply the GRB afterglows as a background source for studying physical properties of intervening gas both in the local GRB progenitor environment and in the foreground galaxies along the line of sight. To reach the goal, we have been conducting rapid (< 6 hours) spectroscopic follow-up of well-localized afterglows through various ToO programs on different ground-based facilities, including the Keck telescopes, Gemini, Lick Observatory, Magellan Telescopes, and the Apache Point telescope.

 

8110015 HANS KRIMM/NASA/GSFC & USRA

"BAT TRIGGERED TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY OBSERVATIONS WITH SWIFT"

 

We propose to continue our successful Swift Cycle 7 program to trigger Swift observations of new galactic sources discovered by the Hard X-ray Transient Monitor of the Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) on Swift, and observations of known galactic black hole (BH) sources found by BAT to be in outburst. Data from the Swift XRT and UVOT will provide precise positions (for both newly discovered sources and poorly localized known sources) and broad spectral coverage. Our collaboration also has access to the PAIRITEL telescope in the IR and a number of radio telescopes through the JACPOT XRB project. This combined effort will allow us to rapidly determine the state of the source, broadcast an early alert, follow bursting BH sources as they pass through different spectral states, and publish results.

 

8110020 RYAN CHORNOCK/HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS

"RAPID OPTICAL AND NEAR-INFRARED SPECTROSCOPY OF SWIFT GRBS: COSMIC REIONIZATION  METAL ENRICHMENT  AND HIGH-Z HOSTS"

 

Rapid spectroscopy of gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglows is essential for our understanding of GRB physics through the determination of the distance and energy scale, as well as for the use of GRBs as probes of the high redshift universe. In this program we will use our extensive access to several of the world’s largest telescopes (Gemini, Magellan, and the MMT) for rapid spectroscopy of GRB afterglows. In particular, new near-infrared spectroscopic and imaging capabilities at these facilities will greatly enhance follow up of GRBs at the highest redshifts. The key goals are to obtain spectroscopic observations of GRBs beyond redshift 6 to study cosmic reionization, high-resolution spectroscopy of the brightest afterglows, and detailed follow-up observations of GRB hosts at z > 2.

 

8110023 LUIGI FOSCHINI/OSSERVATORIO ASTRONOMICO DI BRERA

"STUDYING THE NATURE OF GAMMA-RAY LOUD NARROW-LINE SEYFERT 1 GALAXIES"

 

We ask for a monitoring program of four Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 Galaxies (NLS1s) that have been detected at high-energy gamma rays (E>100 MeV) with Fermi/LAT. The selected targets have been poorly or never detected at X-rays and the requested observations, bringing also optical-to-UV data from UVOT, will allow us to study the broad-band flux variability. Swift observations will be complemented with Fermi data to build quasi-simultaneous spectral energy distribution (SED). From these data, we will calculate the jet and the accretion power and compare with other active nuclei with or without jets, in order to better understand how jets are generated and the nature of NLS1s.

 

8110030 MAXIM LYUTIKOV/PURDUE UNIVERSITY

"THE ELECTROMAGNETIC MODEL OF SHORT GRBS AND THE NATURE OF PROMPT TAILS"

 

Many short GRBs show very late time flares and a presence of long prompt tails that last up to hundred of seconds and may be energetically dominant over the initial spike. We will develop an electromagnetic model of short GRBs that explains the duration and the energetics of both the initial spike and the prompt tail. The key point is the recent discovery that an isolated black hole formed from the collapse of a rotating neutron star can keep its open magnetic field lines for times much longer than the collapse time and, thus, can spin-down electromagnetically (Lyutikov 2011). This discovery opens new possibilities to explain a number of puzzling GRB phenomena that we will explore in this proposal.

 

8110033 CHI (TEDDY) CHEUNG/EUREKA SCIENTIFIC INC.

"PROMPT SWIFT FOLLOWUP OF FLARING/TRANSIENT FERMI-LAT SOURCES IN THE GALACTIC PLANE"

 

We propose to obtain prompt Swift ToO observations of bright flaring/transient Galactic gamma-ray sources detected by the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT). The XRT/UVOT observations will enable us to identify plausible X-ray/optical counterparts following the gamma-ray event. At high-significance (>=5 sigma), we expect 3 such LAT detections over a 1 year period, thus we request up to 3 Swift triggers. These Swift observations will allow for a broad-band characterization of each gamma-ray source, thus providing critical clues as to the nature of this enigmatic source population.

 

8110037 B ZAUDERER/HARVARD UNIVERSITY

"A RENAISSANCE OF GRB RADIO STUDIES WITH THE EXPANDED VLA"

 

Radio afterglows have been fundamental for our understanding of GRBs, but their study has stagnated in the Swift era due to a lack of sensitivity. With the EVLA, the field is experiencing a second renaissance. Our on-going EVLA program has already yielded critical results, including the discovery of dark GRB afterglows, reverse shock detections, and the discovery of radio emission from the tidal disruption event Sw1644+57. We will continue to address several critical open questions: (i) the composition of the GRB ejecta; (ii) the physics and progenitors of short GRBs; (iii) the diversity of GRB explosions; (iv) the properties of high-z GRBs; and (v) the on-going emission from Sw1644+57 and future TDEs. We request partial salary support for a postdoc leading this effort.

 

8110038 JULES HALPERN/COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

"X-RAY AND RADIO MONITORING OF THE TRANSIENT AXP/SGR 1E1547.0-5408"

 

The transient radio AXP 1E 1547.0-5408 became an SGR while we were already monitoring it with Swift and timing it at Parkes to measure its instantaneous spin-down torque and radio flux. Our goal is to discover the mechanism by which the ultra-strong magnetic fields of SGRs causes their outbursts. Combined X-ray and radio timing revealed a large glitch coincident with the first outburst of 1E 1547.0-5408. We then observed a rapid increase in torque a week before its second outburst, which may be the sought-after SGR trigger. The X-ray flux has leveled off well above its historical minimum, showing that magnetic energy is still being dissipated, while the spindown rate has started to fluctuate wildly. Continued monitoring may be able to confirm the cause of a new outburst.

 

8110041 JON MILLER/UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

"A SWIFT  SMARTS LOOK AT STELLAR-MASS BLACK HOLE ACCRETION"

 

The ability of Swift to make frequent observations of stellar-mass black hole outbursts, simultaneously in X-rays and in O/UV, taps an important discovery space. The evolution of disks with mass accretion rate, prescriptions that extend beyond simple Shakura-Sunyaev emissivity profiles, disk-jet connections, and role of jets in the broad-band SED of stellar mass black holes can all be tested with a dedicated effort. In concert with dedicated SMARTS monitoring in B, V, R, I, J, H, and K, as well as planned radio observations, we request 50 1-ksec observations of a stellar-mass black hole in outbust. This simple monitoring program can compile an unprecedented trace of disk evolution, and an unprecedented set of broad-band SEDs.

 

8110043 ROBERT SORIA/CURTIN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

"X-RAY ECLIPSES AND DYNAMICAL MASS OF THE BLACK HOLE IN THE P13 ULX"

 

The optical counterpart of the ultraluminous X-ray source P13 in NGC 7793 is unique in displaying radial velocity variations from Balmer absorption lines and, in anti-phase, from the HeII 4686 line. The overall picture is consistent with a stellar-mass black hole in a 63-d eccentric orbit. Swift monitored P13 in 2010 and 2011, revealing a likely eclipse close to lower conjunction and an extended low state. We propose to monitor P13 with the XRT for about 1.5 orbital cycles. We will: i) measure the duration and orbital phase of the high and low states in order to explain their origin; ii) determine the precise phase, duration and profile of the eclipse, thus significantly constraining the system inclination and black hole mass.

 

8110045 PAOLO SOLERI/UNIVERSITY OF GRONINGEN

"FOLLOWING THE MICROQUASAR GRS 1915+105 TO QUIESCENCE"

 

We propose to observe the microquasar GRS 1915+105 with a sequence of ToO observations, should the source end its current 19-year-long outburst during the 8th Swift observing cycle. After its discovery in 1992 it has always been very bright: its properties suggest that its quiescent X-ray flux would be rather high (~10^34 erg/s), allowing to study the evolution of the spectrum and to test models for quiescent emission in black-hole binaries. Swift exceptional flexibility will allow us to choose the best strategy to follow the decay into quiescence according to the actual source behaviour.

 

8110049 RICK EDELSON/UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND (COLLEGE PARK)

"FINDING THE BEST AGN FOR X-RAY MONITORING IN THE KEPLER FIELD"

 

Previous AGN x-ray/optical simultaneous monitoring has been limited by ground-based optical data quality. Kepler represents an order of magnitude improvements in repeatability (~0.1%) and sampling (every 30 min with >90% duty cycle). This allows a clear test of the standard reprocessing model: a variable x-ray source near the black hole partially powers a larger, optically-emitting accretion disk. If the optical lags the x-rays, light-travel arguments constrain the size of the disk, while if the x-rays lag, the model is wrong. We have executed one campaign on the Kepler AGN Zw 229-15 and are awaiting Kepler data to measure the CCF. Here we request a 47 ks to survey x-ray variability in the other Kepler AGN, in order to identify the best candidates for future x-ray/optical campaigns.

 

8110057 ROBIN BARNARD/HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS

"A MONTH-LONG CHRONICLE OF BRIGHT X-RAY BINARIES IN THE M31 BULGE"

 

X-ray Binaries vary on time-scales of milli-seconds to years. M31 is our nearest spiral galaxy neighbor, making its X-ray population extremely attractive. We propose a 30 day monitoring campaign for 2.5 ks each day to exploit a new discovery space. Goals include testing the super-orbital variability in Bo 158, tracing a Z-track, and determining the decay of a bright transient. We have been monitoring the M31 bulge monthly with Chandra for 10+ years, but most observations are 5ks snapshots, and insensitive to fluctuations on the typical orbital timescales of X-ray binaries, ranging from <1 day to a few weeks. Our proposed observations will sample this timescale for the first time, and should allow detection of orbital modulation, possibly eclipses, in many of the brightest XRBs.

 

8110077 JOSHUA BLOOM/UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA (BERKELEY)

"PAIRITEL: INFRARED STUDIES OF SWIFT GRBS AND TRANSIENTS"

 

We propose for support to continue operating PAIRITEL as a complementary tool for studying Swift transients and GRBs. Rapid multicolor IR observations provide unique windows into the physics of the emission processes and the diversity of the progenitors. Observations of Swift-followed SNe, for example, prove crucial in constraining models of explosion energy and ejecta mass. For afterglow studies, IR photometry provides direct constraints on color evolution and line-of-sight dust, critical for testing theories for early afterglows and measuring bulk outflow speeds. As highlighted herein, constraints on extragalactic dust and photometric redshifts on the most distant events (particularly beyond z=6) tie studies of individual GRBs with many of the core pursuits in observational cosmology.

 

8110084 DAVID WILLIAMS/UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA (SANTA CRUZ)

"TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY MULTIWAVELENGTH OBSERVATIONS OF NEW TEV BLAZARS"

 

We propose target of opportunity observations of blazars showing strong evidence with VERITAS of being new very-high-energy gamma-ray sources. The known TeV blazars have spectral energy distributions with a synchrotron peak in the X-ray/UV/optical bands and a second peak at GeV energies, often thought to be inverse Compton emission. The VHE detection of a blazar often occurs when the blazar is in an active state, potentially lasting only a few days. Swift X-ray and UV observations during the discovery observations by VERITAS will probe the correlated flux and spectral variability patterns of the highest energy electrons. This will unveil information on the energetics and time scales of particle acceleration and cooling, critical to understanding the physics of jets in these new sources.

 

8110089 RYAN FOLEY/HARVARD-SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS

"ULTRAVIOLET OBSERVATIONS OF A TYPE IA SUPERNOVA"

 

Type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) are incredibly useful distance indicators. However, we still do not know exactly what progenitors create SN Ia or how they explode. We have an approved HST program to obtain a ultraviolet (UV) spectral time series of a nearby SN Ia. The UV portion of a SN Ia spectral energy distribution is significantly affected by progenitor composition and the nuclear burning during the explosion. The UV is also critical to measuring distances at high redshift. We propose to obtain full UVOT light curves as well as Swift UV spectra between discovery and when HST is able to observe the SN supplement the HST data. The combination of Swift, HST, and ground-based data will further our understanding of SN Ia progenitor systems and explosions and improve SN Ia distance estimates.

 

8110094 KIERAN O'BRIEN/UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA (SANTA BARBARA)

"EXPLORING THE JET IN LMXBS WITH COORDINATED X-RAY (SWIFT) OPTICAL AND INFRARED (ISAAC/VLT) OBSERVATIONS."

 

The advent of new instrumentation during the last decade has opened a new window in the study of rapid variability in the multi-wavelength lightcurves of X-ray binaries. This technique has been considered very promising for a number of years, and is finally yielding new and unique insights in the field. Here, we propose to observe three X-ray binaries with SWIFT, simultaneous with optical/IR observations using ISAAC/VLT at high time resolution. This will allow us to determine the spectrum and origin of the correlated variability. We will study the jet contribution and map the orbits of these systems during flaring and burst events, which will result in constraints on their fundamental parameters (e.g. compact object masses).

 

8110096 PATRICK GODON/VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY

"PROBING THE BOUNDARY LAYERS OF ACCRETING WHITE DWARFS IN NOVA-LIKE CATACLYSMIC VARIABLES"

 

We propose 98 ksec of Swift’s XRT and UVOT (UV grism) observations of 7 non-magnetic nova-like (NL) cataclysmic variables to determine the temperature and luminosity of their boundary layer (BL, that region between the disk and white dwarf), their mass accretion rate and reddening. These NLs are found mostly in a state of high mass accretion rate, they are luminous X-ray and UV sources. With Swift observations, we can indepently determine the mass accretion and bolometric luminosity, as the X-ray is emitted by the BL and amounts for up to half of the accretion energy. Simultaneous X-ray and UV spectra of NLs provide an opportunity to model at the same time the disk and the boundary layer, this is a significant step forward, as standard disk models in the UV alone have not been adequate.

           

8110097 JAMIE KENNEA/THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY

"MONITORING THE OPTICAL  UV AND X-RAY EVOLUTION OF GALACTIC BLACK HOLE BINARIES IN OUTBURST WITH SWIFT"

 

We propose to perform a series of short monitoring observations of BHBs with optical counterparts throughout their entire outburst,. We wish to perform this monitoring to track the evolution of the disk and jet components of these BHBs, with an aim obtaining a better physical understanding of BHB outburst evolution by broad-band modeling of the UV/optical (UVOT), X-ray (XRT) and Hard X-ray (BAT) data. Swift is the ideal mission to perform this due to its flexible low-overhead scheduling which allows for high cadence short monitoring observations, its sensitive X-ray telescope, multi-wavelength capabilities, and rapid response to new triggers. This proposal formalizes a program of monitoring black hole binary transients which has previously been performed through the Swift TOO program.

 

8110106 CHRISTOPHER REYNOLDS/UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND (COLLEGE PARK)

"X-RAY MONITORING OF THE BROAD LINE RADIO GALAXY 3C120"

 

3C120 is a bright radio-loud AGN in which a clear disk-jet connection has been established. We have been approved for a deep Suzaku observation of 3C120 in Spring-2012 which will give us our best snapshot to date of the central engine structure in any RLAGN. However, in order to place the deep Suzaku stare into the context of the disk-disruption/jet-ejection cycles displayed by this object, it is vital to monitor the source in the X-ray and radio bands for at least a half-year centered on the deep stare. We have already secured single-dish and VLBA monitoring in order to track the jet. Here, we propose Swift monitoring of the accretion disk in the X-ray (XRT) and optical/UV (UVOT). Taken as a whole, this campaign will give an unprecedented view of the physics of a RLAGN.

 

8110108 ARASH BODAGHEE/UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA (BERKELEY)

"SWIFT TOO OBSERVATIONS OF HARD X-RAY TRANSIENTS FROM THE INNER SPIRAL ARMS"

 

Swift Target of Opportunity (ToO) observations are proposed for up to 10 new hard X-ray transients discovered during the course of our approved program to regularly monitor the inner Galactic spiral arms with INTEGRAL. These regions are teeming with HMXBs and other X-ray transients such as microquasars, LMXBs, X-ray bursters and magnetars. With 1.2 Ms of observing time devoted to the Norma and Scutum Arms, our program will discover new X-ray sources, which will then trigger these Swift ToO observations that are crucial for determining their nature. Thanks to its high imaging and spectral sensitivity, Swift will allow us to obtain a precise X-ray position which is necessary for identifying counterparts at other wavelengths, and a quality spectrum in a broad energy band (0.5 100 keV).

 

8110109 JOHN TOMSICK/UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA (BERKELEY)

"BLACK HOLE TRANSIENTS IN THE HARD STATE DURING OUTBURST DECAY"

 

An important step in improving our understanding of black hole (BH) jets is to determine the physics of BH systems in their hard state, which is the only BH state in which a steady and powerful jet is seen. We propose to use Swift (XRT and UVOT) to monitor a BH transient in the hard state during outburst decay. Swift will be used to follow the evolution of the flux and energy spectrum in order to: 1. Study correlations between X-rays and radio measurements made at ATCA; 2. Trigger INTEGRAL observations to study possible non-thermal hard X-ray emission; and 3. Trigger Suzaku observations to constrain the accretion disk geometry.

 

8110110 DIEGO ALTAMIRANO/ASTRONOMICAL INSTITUTE

"A STUDY OF WEAK GLOBULAR CLUSTER X-RAY TRANSIENTS"

 

Globular clusters are known to host several low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) in quiescence, some of which have been seen in outburst in the last decade. Here we propose swift monitoring of four of the richest globular clusters (NGC 6440, NGC 6266, NGC 6388 and Terzan 5) to place the first constrains on the recurrence times of outbursts reaching levels textit{not} higher than $L X sim 10^{35}$ erg s$^{-1}$. No systematic study of outbursts in the $L X sim 10^{34-35} { rm , erg s}^{-1}$ range have yet been made. Recent discoveries suggest this is a new window on the transient behavior of LMXBs.

 

8110124 JEROEN HOMAN/MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

"CONSTRAINING THE EPISODIC LOW-LEVEL ACCRETION IN THE QUIESCENT NEUTRON STAR TRANSIENT XTE J1701-462"

 

Increasing evidence is being found for low-level accretion activity in quiescent neutron star LMXBs. A more systematic approach is needed to study the low-level accretion rate history in individual sources. Such information is crucial in constraining the neutron star equation of state. We propose to monitor XTE J1701-362, a system in which brief (10-20 day) changes in the quiescent luminosity up to factors of 20 have already been seen. Here we request 30 short (1 ks) monitoring observations to search for longer periods of activity, which could partly explain the hot neutron star in the system. The program also serves as a trigger for a potential follow-up with XMM during an active period and to monitor the behavior of the source immediately prior to an approved Chandra observation.

 

8110132 BRADFORD WARGELIN/SMITHSONIAN ASTROPHYSICAL OBSERVATORY

"MEASURING PROXIMA CEN'S ROTATION PERIOD AND POSSIBLE STELLAR CYCLE"

 

Recently, the ground-based ASAS photometric monitoring program has yielded evidence for an 83-day rotation period and an 8-year stellar cycle in Proxima Cen, an M5.5 dwarf. A stellar cycle in a late M dwarf would be extremely exciting because current models of stellar magnetic activity indicate that such stars are fully convective and should not have solar-like cycles. Confirmation and further investigation of these results with Swift, using the intimate connection of X-ray and UV emission with magnetic activity, is needed to understand what is happening in Prox Cen’s corona and interior. We request 46 ks (18 observations) to confirm our tentative finding of a 57-day X-ray rotation period and to continue our stellar-cycle monitoring program, which began in Cycle 5.

           

8110133 NATHANIEL BUTLER/ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

"STUDYING BLACK HOLES IN THE LOCAL UNIVERSE: SWIFT FOLLOWUP OF TIDAL FLARES"

 

Stars passing within a distance of ~5 Schwarschild radii of a massive black hole of mass M BH ~ 1.e7 M sun are ripped apart by the strong tidal gravitational field of the black hole. This should give rise to a detectable flare of radiation from black holes with masses M BH ~< 1.e8 M sun. Detection and characterization of tidal flares would open up a new window onto accretion physics close to MBHs. Theoretical rates suggest that tidal disruption of stars may be the dominant source of growth for massive black holes. Here we propose Swift target of opportunity observations of two promising tidal flare events discovered by the Palomar Transients Factory (PTF) or by the ATA, GALEX, ROTSE, or CSS. As direct detections in 2011 by Swift have shown, XRT and UVOT (and correlated ground-based)

 

8110134 JULIE MCENERY/NASA/GSFC

"SWIFT OBSERVATIONS OF FERMI-LAT DETECTED GRBS"

 

The small sample of extremely energetic Fermi-LAT GRBs with coverage up to 300 GeV are providing new and exciting clues into GRB emission mechanisms. We request that Swift continues to follow-up these GRBs with rapid responses and policies already set into place by the Swift and Fermi teams. We propose to use Swift in conjunction with Fermi to rapidly localize and disseminate GRB positions to facilitate ground based follow-up and redshift measurements, studies of optical to GeV afterglow emission especially with new simultaneous observations, and to study the broadband afterglow properties of the LAT-detected GRBs. Observations over the last three years have already been successful, and justify why we can expect further improvements and new insight into GRB physics in the coming years.

 

8110135 NATHANIEL BUTLER/ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

"THE REIONIZATION AND TRANSIENTS IR CAMERA: A HIGH-Z GRB SEARCH MACHINE"

 

We propose to operate in Cycle 8 the Reionization And Transients InfraRed(RATIR) camera, a simultaneous optical/NIR multi-band imaging camera which will be 100% time-dedicated to the followup of Swift Gamma-ray Bursts (GRBs). Through an existing agreement with UNAM, the camera will be housed on the 1.5m telescope at Pedro San Martir in Baja California. With rapid slew capability and autonomous interrupt capabilities, the system will image GRBs in 6 bands (i, r, z, Y, J, and H) within minutes of receiving a Swift position, detecting optically faint afterglows in the NIR and quickly alerting the community to potential GRBs at high (>6-10) redshift.

 

8110136 ANATOLY SPITKOVSKY/PRINCETON UNIVERSITY

"PARTICLE ACCELERATION AND FIELD GENERATION IN EARLY AFTERGLOWS OF GRBS"

 

Synchrotron emission from shocks created by a relativistic jet colliding with the ISM forms the basis of our understanding of afterglow phenomena in GRBs. Yet, the intrinsic efficiency of particle acceleration and field generation in such shocks is not well constrained by the theory. We will perform ab-initio kinetic simulations of jet-ISM collisions and will study the evolution and relative importance of synchrotron emissivity from forward and reverse shocks as functions of jet composition, density, magnetization and Lorenz factor. The resulting dependence of light curves on flow parameters will be instrumental for the interpretation of SWIFT GRB light curves.

 

8110144 MANEL ERRANDO/BARNARD COLLEGE

"TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY AND MULTIWAVELENGTH OBSERVATIONS OF BRIGHT FLARES FROM 3C 279 AND 4C 21.35"

 

We propose Swift target of opportunity (ToO) observations during bright flaring states of two flat spectrum radio quasars (FSRQ) known to emit very high energy (VHE, E>100GeV) gamma rays: 3C 279 and 4C 21.35 (PKS 1222+216). In case of a trigger, ultraviolet and X-ray observations by Swift will be simultaneous with broadband multiwavelength coverage in infrared, optical and gamma-ray bands, including Fermi-LAT pointed observations and extensive VHE coverage with VERITAS and MAGIC. Triggers will be based on continuous monitoring by Fermi-LAT in the 1-100 GeV band and will be issued if the flux exceeds 2 Crab. The two selected targets are among the best candidates to study the fastest variability time scales in FSRQ and understand the location and size of the emission region.

 

8110151 ROGIER WINDHORST/ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

"CONFIRMATION OF A LARGE LYMAN ALPHA BLOB CANDIDATE AT Z=0.55 DISCOVERED BY SWIFT"

 

We request 4 ksec to confirm a large Lyman Alpha Blob (LAB) candidate at z=0.55. Previous SWIFT UVW1 and UVW2 images (Hegel et al. 2011, ApJ in prep) of 50 SDSS QSO fields at 0.556 < z < 0.565 revealed a LAB candidate of unusual characteristics. Undetected in UVW1, two blobs were found around QSO J215144.9-302151 (see Fig. 2), that are significantly extended in UVW2, which covers Lya at z = 0.55. They are 80’’ or 480 kpc in diameter, which would be larger than any other any known LAB to date. Proper placement in the center of the detector will greatly improve the signal-to-noise ratio of the putative LAB’s, and eliminate possible defects that could give rise to a spurious detection. If confirmed, this SWIFT observation would result in the largest Lyman Alpha Blob known to date.