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Late-Time VLA Reobservations Rule Out ULIRG-Like Host Galaxies For Most Pre-Swift Long-Duration Gamma-Ray Bursts

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posted on 2017-01-04, 15:41 authored by D. A. Perley, J. Hjorth, Nial R. Tanvir, R. A. Perley
We present new Jansky Very Large Array observations of five pre-Swift gamma-ray bursts for which an ultraluminous (SFR > 100 M_sun/yr) dusty host galaxy had previously been inferred from radio or submillimetre observations taken within a few years after the burst. In four of the five cases we no longer detect any source at the host location to limits much fainter than the original observations, ruling out the existence of an ultraluminous galaxy hosting any of these GRBs. We continue to detect a source at the position of GRB 980703, but it is much fainter than it was a decade ago and the inferred radio star-formation rate (~80 M_sun) is relatively modest. The radio flattening at 200-1000 days observed in the light curve of this GRB may have been caused by a decelerating counterjet oriented 180 degrees away from the viewer, although an unjetted wind model can also explain the data. Our results eliminate all well-established pre-Swift ULIRG hosts, and all cases for which an unobscured GRB was found in a galaxy dominated by heavily-obscured star-formation. When GRBs do occur in ULIRGs the afterglow is almost always observed to be heavily obscured, consistent with the large dust opacities and high dust covering fractions characteristic of these systems.


DAP acknowledges support from a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship within the Horizon 2020 European Union (EU) Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (H2020- MSCA-IF-2014-660113). Support for this work was also provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) through an award issued by JPL/Caltech. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. We acknowledge useful conversations with and comments from D. A. Frail, and from D. Watson, M. Michałowski, and D. A. Kann. We thank the referee for helpful comments. We also thank A. Levan for supplying HST imaging for several of the host galaxies.



Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (February 11, 2017) 465 (1): 970-977.

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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 (February 11


Oxford University Press (OUP), Royal Astronomical Society





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