Optical and X-Ray Observations of GRB 060526: A Complex Afterglow Consistent with an Achromatic Jet Break
We obtained 98 R-band and 18 B, r', i' images of the optical afterglow of GRB 060526 (z=3.21) with the MDM 1.3 m, 2.4 m, and the PROMPT telescopes at CTIO over the five nights following the burst trigger. Combining these data with other optical observations reported in GCN and the Swift XRT observations, we compare the optical and X-ray afterglow light curves of GRB 060526. Both the optical and X-ray afterglow light curves show rich features, such as flares and breaks. The densely sampled optical observations provide very good coverage at T>104 s. We observed a break at 2.4×105 s in the optical afterglow light curve. Compared with the X-ray afterglow light curve, the break is consistent with an achromatic break supporting the beaming models of GRBs. However, the prebreak and postbreak temporal decay slopes are difficult to explain in simple afterglow models. We estimated a jet angle of θj~7deg and a prompt emission size of Rprompt~2×1014 cm. In addition, we detected several optical flares with amplitudes of Δm~0.2, 0.6, and 0.2 mag. The X-ray afterglows detected by Swift have shown complicated decay patterns. Recently, many well-sampled optical afterglows also show decays with flares and multiple breaks. GRB 060526 provides an additional case of such a complex, well-observed optical afterglow. The accumulated well-sampled afterglows indicate that most of the optical afterglows are complex.