We present one of the best sampled early-time light curves of a gamma-ray burst (GRB) at radio wavelengths. Using the Arcminute Mircrokelvin Imager (AMI), we observed GRB 130427A at the central frequency of 15.7 GHz between 0.36 and 59.32 d post-burst. These results yield one of the earliest radio detections of a GRB and demonstrate a clear rise in flux less than one day after the γ-ray trigger followed by a rapid decline. This early-time radio emission probably originates in the GRB reverse shock so our AMI light curve reveals the first ever confirmed detection of a reverse shock peak in the radio domain. At later times (about 3.2 d post-burst), the rate of decline decreases, indicating that the forward shock component has begun to dominate the light curve. Comparisons of the AMI light curve with modelling conducted by Perley et al. show that the most likely explanation of the early-time 15.7 GHz peak is caused by the self-absorption turn-over frequency, rather than the peak frequency, of the reverse shock moving through the observing bands.
- gamma-ray burst: individual: GRB 130427A
- radio continuum: stars