Welcome to the GRAASP project website. Many gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are followed by long-wavelength "afterglow" emission. At visual wavelengths, GRB afterglows are known to be brighter than the brightest quasars in the universe for a few hours after the initial burst! Similar to QSOs, GRB afterglows serve as bright background sources for probing intervening gas. Because of their transient nature, however, optical afterglows do not interfere with follow-up studies of absorbing galaxies close to the sightlines. Previous studies have demonstrated that rapid spectroscopic follow-up of the afterglows yields high-quality spectra over short exposure times and allows us to study physical conditions of the universe in different epochs. The GRAASP project is designed (1) to obtain early-time, moderate-to-high resolution (R > 6000) spectra of well-localized GRB afterglows and (2) to follow up with late-time deep imaging surveys of faint galaxies in the GRB fields. The primary objective is to collect a sample of distant galaxies with known gaseous properties (such as chemical abundances and gas kinematics from afterglow absorption-line studies) for studying star formation and galaxy growth in the young universe. The collaboration is seeking interested individuals who would like to participate in the process of collecting moderate-to-high resolution spectra of GRB afterglows.

Last updated: 2 January 2011 hchen at oddjob dot uchicago dot edu