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Title: The IXPE View of GRB 221009A
Abstract We present the IXPE observation of GRB 221009A, which includes upper limits on the linear polarization degree of both prompt and afterglow emission in the soft X-ray energy band. GRB 221009A is an exceptionally bright gamma-ray burst (GRB) that reached Earth on 2022 October 9 after traveling through the dust of the Milky Way. The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) pointed at GRB 221009A on October 11 to observe, for the first time, the 2–8 keV X-ray polarization of a GRB afterglow. We set an upper limit to the polarization degree of the afterglow emission of 13.8% at a 99% confidence level. This result provides constraints on the jet opening angle and the viewing angle of the GRB, or alternatively, other properties of the emission region. Additionally, IXPE captured halo-rings of dust-scattered photons that are echoes of the GRB prompt emission. The 99% confidence level upper limit to the prompt polarization degree depends on the background model assumption, and it ranges between ∼55% and ∼82%. This single IXPE pointing provides both the first assessment of X-ray polarization of a GRB afterglow and the first GRB study with polarization observations of both the prompt and afterglow phases.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2108622 2011759
Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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