University of Leicester
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Accessing the population of high-redshift Gamma Ray Bursts

journal contribution
posted on 2016-04-19, 08:39 authored by G. Ghirlanda, R. Salvaterra, G. Ghisellini, S. Mereghetti, G. Tagliaferri, S. Campana, Julian Paul Osborne, Paul Thomas O'Brien, Nial Tanvir, Richard Willingale, L. Amati, S. Basa, M. G. Bernardini, D. Burlon, S. Covino, P. D'Avanzo, F. Frontera, D. Goetz, A. Melandri, L. Nava, L. Piro, S. D. Vergani
Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) are a powerful probe of the high-redshift Universe. We present a tool to estimate the detection rate of high-z GRBs by a generic detector with defined energy band and sensitivity. We base this on a population model that reproduces the observed properties of GRBs detected by Swift, Fermi and CGRO in the hard X-ray and γ-ray bands. We provide the expected cumulative distributions of the flux and fluence of simulated GRBs in different energy bands. We show that scintillator detectors, operating at relatively high energies (e.g. tens of keV to the MeV), can detect only the most luminous GRBs at high redshifts due to the link between the peak spectral energy and the luminosity (Epeak–Liso) of GRBs. We show that the best strategy for catching the largest number of high-z bursts is to go softer (e.g. in the soft X-ray band) but with a very high sensitivity. For instance, an imaging soft X-ray detector operating in the 0.2–5 keV energy band reaching a sensitivity, corresponding to a fluence, of ∼10−8 erg cm−2 is expected to detect ≈40 GRBs yr−1 sr−1 at z ≥ 5 (≈3 GRBs yr−1 sr−1 at z ≥ 10). Once high-z GRBs are detected the principal issue is to secure their redshift. To this aim we estimate their NIR afterglow flux at relatively early times and evaluate the effectiveness of following them up and construct usable samples of events with any forthcoming GRB mission dedicated to explore the high-z Universe.



Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2015, 448 (3), pp. 2514-2524 (11)

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/Department of Physics and Astronomy


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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society


Oxford University Press (OUP)





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