T.J. Galama, P.M. Vreeswijk, E. Rol, L. Kaper (U. of Amsterdam),
N. Masetti, E. Pian, E. Palazzi, F. Frontera (ITESRE, CNR, Bologna),
J. van Paradijs (U. of Amsterdam and U. of Alabama in Huntsville) and
C. Kouveliotou (USRA/MSFC) report on behalf of the
Amsterdam/Huntsville and BeppoSAX GRB optical follow-up teams:
Three 10-min low resolution spectra, covering 3500-8000 Angstrom, were
taken of the optical counterpart to GRB 990712 (Bakos et al., GCN
#387) with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) VLT-UT1 telescope,
starting July 13.17 UT 1999. We detect pronounced emission lines, as
well as some absorption features, that we identify as follows: MgII
(blend of 2796 and 2803) and MgI (2852) in absorption, [OII] (3727),
H-gamma (4340), H-beta (4861) and [OIII] (4959 and 5007) in emission.
>From these lines we determine a preliminary redshift at 0.430 +/- 0.005.
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