team GRB080319B TORTORA

Discovery of an optical component of GRB080319B

Seven months ago, on Mar 19, 2008, at 09:12 Moscow time, a new star appeared on the sky. The Sun had already risen over the Russia, but people of the Western hemisphere might be able to see by their eyes a faint starlet near one of Bootes constellation stars. This starlet appeared and faded by an order of magnitude in a minute. Astronomers named it GRB080319B or, informally, the Naked-Eye Burst, as it was twice as bright as human eye can see a star.
We don't know whether anyone actually saw it by his eyes, but two small automatic telescopes - Russian-Italian TORTORA and Polish "Pi of the Sky" - did detect it and studied in details its optical behaviour simultaneously with space-borne gamma-ray satellite Swift. Results of these three, along with a number of other astronomical instruments all over the world, which studied the transient emission at different wavelengths, has been published in one of September issues of Nature.
The TORTORA, which name is an Italian word for a dove, had been created by our observatory scientists in collaboration with ones from Institute for Precise Insrumentation, as well as staff of Italian Bologna State University and Brera Observatory.
Additional information on this burst may be found at the following web sites:
Royal Astronomical Society