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The Astrophysical Journal


The American Astronomical Society


We present V -, R-, and I-band observations made at the US Naval Observatory, Flagstaff† Station, of the afterglow of GRB 980519 on UT 1998 May 20 and 22. These observations are combined with extensive data from the literature, and all are placed on a uniform magnitude system. The resultant R- and I-band light curves are fit by simple power laws with no breaks and indices of αR = 2.30 ± 0.12 and αI = 2.05 ± 0.07. This makes the afterglow of GRB 980519 one of the two steepest afterglows yet observed. The combined B-, V -, R-, and I-band observations are used to estimate the spectral power-law index, β = 1.4 ± 0.3, after correction for reddening. Unfortunately, GRB 980519 occurred at a relatively low Galactic latitude (b ≈ +15) where the Galactic reddening is poorly known and, hence, the actual value of β is poorly constrained. The observed α and range of likely β-values are, however, found to be consistent with simple relativistic blast-wave models. This afterglow and that of GRB 980326 displayed much steeper declines than the other seven well-observed afterglows, which cluster near α ≈ 1.2. GRB 980519 and GRB 980326 did not display burst characteristics in common that might distinguish them from the gamma-ray bursts with more typical light curves.