Gamma-ray burst rate: high-redshift excess and its possible origins

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Impact Factor: 5.52). 05/2011; 417. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19459.x
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT Prompted by various analyses of long (Type II) GRB rates and their
relationship to the cosmic star-formation history, metallicity and luminosity
function evolution, we systematically analyze these effects with a Monte Carlo
code. We test various cosmic star-formation history models including analytical
and empirical models as well as those derived from cosmological simulations. We
also explore expressions for metallicity enhancement of the GRB rate with
redshift, as presented in the literature, and discuss improvements to these
analytic expressions from the point of view of galactic evolution. These are
also compared to cosmological simulations on metal enrichment. Additionally we
explore possible evolutionary effects of the GRB rate and luminosity function
with redshift. The simulated results are tested with the observed Swift sample
including the L, z, and peak flux (log N-log P) distributions. The
observational data imply that an increase in the GRB rate is necessary to
account for the observations at high redshift, although the form of this
enhancement is unclear. A rate increase due to lower metallicity at higher
redshift may not be the singular cause and is subject to a variety of
uncertainties. Alternatively, evolution of the GRB luminosity function break
with redshift shows promise as a possible alternative.

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    ABSTRACT: Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) and galaxies at high redshift represent complementary probes of the star formation history of the Universe. In fact, both the GRB rate and the galaxy luminosity density are connected to the underlying star formation. Here, we combine a star formation model for the evolution of the galaxy luminosity function from z=0 to z=10 with a metallicity-dependent efficiency for GRB formation to simultaneously predict the comoving GRB rate. Our model sheds light on the physical origin of the empirical relation often assumed between GRB rate and luminosity density-derived star formation rate: Rgrb(z) = \epsilon(z)*SFR_{obs}(z), with \epsilon(z) (1+z)^{1.2}. At z<4, \epsilon(z) is dominated by the effects of metallicity evolution in the GRB efficiency. Our best-fitting model only requires a moderate preference for low-metallicity, that is a GRB rate per unit stellar mass about four times higher for log(Z/Zsun)<-3 compared to log(Z/Zsun)>0. Models with total suppression of GRB formation at log(Z/Zsun)>0 are disfavored. At z>4, most of the star formation happens in low-metallicity hosts with nearly saturated efficiency of GRB production per unit stellar mass. However at the same epoch, galaxy surveys miss an increasing fraction of the predicted luminosity density because of flux limits, driving an accelerated evolution of \epsilon(z) compared to the empirical power-law fit from lower z. Our findings are consistent with the non-detections of GRB hosts in ultradeep imaging at z>5, and point toward current galaxy surveys at z>8 only observing the top 15-20 % of the total luminosity density.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 06/2013; 773(2). · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: While there are numerous indications that gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) arise from the deaths of massive stars, the GRB rate does not follow the global cosmic star formation rate and, within their hosts, GRBs are more concentrated in regions of very high star formation. We explain both puzzles here. Using the publicly available VESPA database of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 7 spectra, we explore a multi-parameter space in galaxy properties such as stellar mass, metallicity, and dust to find the subset of galaxies that reproduces the GRB rate recently obtained by Wanderman & Piran. We find that only galaxies with present stellar masses below <1010M ☉ and low metallicity reproduce the observed GRB rate. This is consistent with direct observations of GRB hosts and provides an independent confirmation of the nature of GRB hosts. Because of the significantly larger sample of SDSS galaxies, we compute their correlation function and show that they are anti-biased with respect to dark matter: they are in filaments and voids. Using recent observations of massive stars in local dwarfs we show how the fact that GRB host galaxies are dwarfs can explain the observation that GRBs are more concentrated in regions of high star formation than are supernovae. Finally, we explain these results using new theoretical advances in the field of star formation.
    The Astrophysical Journal 08/2013; 773(2):126. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Long Gamma Ray Bursts (LGRBs) are related to the final stages of evolution of massive stars. As such, they should follow the star formation rate (SFR) of galaxies. We can use them to probe for star-forming galaxies (SFGs) in the distant universe following this assumption. The relation between the rate of LGRBs in a given galaxy and its SFR (that we call the LGRB "bias") may be complex, as we have indications that the LGRB hosts are not perfect analogues to the general population of SFGs. In this work, we try to quantify the dependence of the LGRB bias on physical parameters of their host galaxy such as the SFR or the stellar mass. We propose an empirical method based on the comparison of stellar mass functions (and SFR distributions) of LGRB hosts and of SFGs in order to find how the bias depends on the stellar mass or the SFR. By applying this method to a sample of LGRB hosts at redshifts lower than 1.1, where the properties of SFGs are well established, and where the properties of LGRB host galaxies can be deduced from observations (for stellar masses larger than 10**9.25 Msun and SFR larger than 1.8 Msun / yr), we find that the LGRB bias depends on both the stellar mass and SFR. We find that the bias decreases with the SFR, i.e. we see no preference for highly SFGs, once taken into account the larger number of massive stars in galaxies with larger SFR. We do not find any trend with the specific star formation rate (SSFR) but the dynamical range in SSFR in our study is narrow. Although through an indirect method, we relate these trends to a possible decrease of the LGRBs rate / SFR ratio with the metallicity. The method we propose suggests trends that may be useful to constrain models of LGRB progenitors, showing a clear decrease of the LGRB bias with the metallicity. This is promising for the future as the number of LGRB hosts studied will increase.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 07/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor

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