The bright gamma-ray burst GRB 050525a has been detected with the Swift observatory, providing unique multi-wavelength coverage from the very earliest phases of the burst. The X-ray and optical/UV afterglow decay light curves both exhibit a steeper slope ∼0.15 days after the burst, indicative of a jet break. This jet break time combined with the total gamma-ray energy of the burst constrains the opening angle of the jet to be 3°.2. We derive an empirical "time-lag" redshift from the BAT data of ẑ = 0.69 ± 0.02, in good agreement with the spectroscopic redshift of 0.61. Prior to the jet break, the X-ray data can be modeled by a simple power law with index α = -1.2. However, after 300 s the X-ray flux brightens by about 30% compared to the power-law fit. The optical/UV data have a more complex decay, with evidence of a rapidly falling reverse shock component that dominates in the first minute or so, giving way to a flatter forward shock component at later times. The multiwavelength X-ray/UV/optical spectrum of the afterglow shows evidence for migration of the electron cooling frequency through the optical range within 25,000 s. The measured temporal decay and spectral indexes in the X-ray and optical/UV regimes compare favorably with the standard fireball model for gamma-ray bursts assuming expansion into a constant-density interstellar medium.
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