Ground-based gamma-ray burst follow-up efforts: Results of the first two years of the BATSE/COMPTEL/NMSU Rapid Response Network

Bernard J. McNamara, Thomas E. Harrison, J. Ryan, R. M. Kippen, M. McConnell, J. Macri, C. Kouveliotou, G. J. Fishman, C. A. Meegan, D. A. Green, D. M. Koranyi, P. J. Warner, E. M. Waldram, L. Hanlon, K. Bennett, T. A.Th Spoelstra, V. G. Metlov, N. V. Metlova, E. Feigelson, A. J. BeasleyD. M. Palmer, S. D. Barthelmy, Dale E. Gary, E. T. Olsen, S. Levin, P. G. Wannier, M. A. Janssen, J. Borovicka, P. Pravec, R. Hudec, M. J. Coe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In this paper we describe the capabilities of the BATSE/COMPTEL/NMSU Rapid Response Network and report on results obtained during its first 2 years of operation. This network is a worldwide association of 22 radio and optical observatories that perform follow-up searches of newly discovered gamma-ray burst error boxes by the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. During the last 2 years, it has deeply imaged 10 gamma-ray error boxes over time frames from a few hours to a month after burst detection, and it finds no sources that can be associated unambiguously with a gamma-ray burst. We suggest that significant optical or radio emission is not produced by gamma-ray bursts more than a day after the burst. This result is consistent with recent theoretical models by Katz, Mészâros, Rees, & Papathanassiou, and Paczyński & Rhoads; however, our hours to days optical response time and radio sensitivity limits allow only a weak constraint to be placed on these models. Based upon this study and other published works, we suggest that future work should concentrate on acquiring deep optical images (m ≥ 12) of small gamma-ray error boxes well within a day of the burst. Ideally, radio observations should begin as soon after the burst as possible, reach a sensitivity of ≤1 mJy, and be continued with occasional images being acquired for at least a month following burst detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-181
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Bursts
  • Gamma rays


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