University of Leicester
1806.01296v1.pdf (5.43 MB)
Download file

Highly-ionized metals as probes of the circumburst gas in the natal regions of gamma-ray bursts

Download (5.43 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2018-06-08, 11:42 authored by K. E. Heintz, D. Watson, P. Jakobsson, J. P. U. Fynbo, J. Bolmer, M. Arabsalmani, Z. Cano, S. Covino, V. D'Elia, A. Gomboc, J. Japelj, L. Kaper, J.-K. Krogager, G. Pugliese, R. Sánchez-Ramírez, J. Selsing, M. Sparre, N. R. Tanvir, C. C. Thöne, A. D. U. Postigo, S. D. Vergani
We present here a survey of high-ionization absorption lines in the afterglow spectra of long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) obtained with the VLT/X-shooter spectrograph. Our main goal is to investigate the circumburst medium in the natal regions of GRBs. Our primary focus is on the NV 1238,1242 line transitions, but we also discuss other high-ionization lines such as OVI, CIV and SiIV. We find no correlation between the column density of NV and the neutral gas properties such as metallicity, HI column density and dust depletion, however the relative velocity of NV, typically a blueshift with respect to the neutral gas, is found to be correlated with the column density of HI. This may be explained if the NV gas is part of an HII region hosting the GRB, where the region's expansion is confined by dense, neutral gas in the GRB's host galaxy. We find tentative evidence (at 2-sigma significance) that the X-ray derived column density, N_H,X, may be correlated with the column density of NV, which would indicate that both measurements are sensitive to the column density of the gas located in the vicinity of the GRB. We investigate the scenario where NV (and also OVI) is produced by recombination after the corresponding atoms have been stripped entirely of their electrons by the initial prompt emission, in contrast to previous models where highly-ionized gas is produced by photoionization from the GRB afterglow.


KEH and PJ acknowledge support by a Project Grant (162948–051) from The Icelandic Research Fund. JK acknowledges financial support from the Danish Council for Independent Research (EU-FP7 under the Marie-Curie grant agreement no. 600207) with reference DFF–MOBILEX–5051–00115. JJ acknowledges support from NOVA and NWO-FAPESP grant for advanced instrumentation in astronomy. AG acknowledges the financial support from the Slovenian Research Agency (research core funding No. P1-0031 and project grant No. J1-8136). AdUP, CCT and ZC acknowledge support from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity under grant number AYA 2014-58381-P. AdUP and CCT acknowledge support from Ramon y Cajal fellowships (RyC-2012-09975 and RyC-2012-09984). AdUP acknowledges support from a grant from the BBVA foundation for researchers and cultural creators. ZC acknowledges support from the Juan de la Cierva Incorporación fellowship IJCI-2014-21669 and from the Spanish research project AYA 2014-58381-P. RS-R acknowledges support from ASI (Italian Space Agency) through the Contract n. 2015-046-R.0 and from European Union Horizon 2020 Programme under the AHEAD project (grant agreement n. 654215).



Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2018, sty1447

Author affiliation

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


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society


Oxford University Press (OUP), Royal Astronomical Society





Copyright date


Available date


Publisher version



Usage metrics

    University of Leicester Publications