GRB 990123 was the first burst from which simultaneous optical, X-ray and
gamma-ray emission was detected; its afterglow has been followed by an
extensive set of radio, optical and X-ray observations. We have studied the
gamma-ray burst itself as observed by the CGRO detectors. We find that
gamma-ray fluxes are not correlated with the simultaneous optical observations,
and the gamma-ray spectra cannot be extrapolated simply to the optical fluxes.
The burst is well fit by the standard four-parameter GRB function, with the
exception that excess emission compared to this function is observed below ~15
keV during some time intervals. The burst is characterized by the typical
hard-to-soft and hardness-intensity correlation spectral evolution patterns.
The energy of the peak of the nu f_nu spectrum, E_p, reaches an unusually high
value during the first intensity spike, 1470 +/- 110 keV, and then falls to
\~300 keV during the tail of the burst. The high-energy spectrum above ~MeV is
consistent with a power law with a photon index of about -3. By fluence, GRB
990123 is brighter than all but 0.4% of the GRBs observed with BATSE, clearly
placing it on the -3/2 power-law portion of the intensity distribution.
However, the redshift measured for the afterglow is inconsistent with the
Euclidean interpretation of the -3/2 power-law. Using the redshift value of >=
1.61 and assuming isotropic emission, the gamma-ray fluence exceeds 10E54 ergs.