A deep search for the host galaxies of gamma-ray bursts with no detected optical afterglow

A. Rossi, S. Klose, P. Ferrero, J. Greiner, L.~A. Arnold, E. Gonsalves, D.~H. Hartmann, A.~C. Updike, D.~A. Kann, T. Krühler, E. Palazzi, S. Savaglio, S. Schulze, P.~M.~J. Afonso, L. Amati, A.~J. Castro-Tirado, C. Clemens, R. Filgas, J. Gorosabel, L.~K. HuntA. Yoldaș, N. Masetti, M. Nardini, A. Nicuesa Guelbenzu, F.~E. Olivares, E. Pian, A. Rau, P. Schady, S. Schmidl, A. Yoldaș, A. de Ugarte Postigo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Context. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) can provide information about star formation at high redshifts. Even in the absence of a bright optical/near-infrared/radio afterglow, the high detection rate of X-ray afterglows by Swift/XRT and its localization precision of 2–3 arcsec facilitates the identification and the study of GRB host galaxies.
Aims. We focus on the search for the host galaxies of 17 bursts with arcsec-sized XRT error circles but no detected long-wavelength afterglow, in spite of their deep and rapid follow-up observations. Three of these events can also be classified as truly dark bursts, i.e., the observed upper limit on the optical flux of the afterglow was less than expected based on the measured X-ray flux. Our goals are to identify the GRB host galaxy candidates and characterize their phenomenological parameters.
Methods. Our study is based on deep RC and Ks-band observations performed with FORS1, FORS2, VIMOS, ISAAC, and HAWK-I at the ESO/VLT, partly supported by observations with the seven-channel imager GROND at the 2.2-m telescope on La Silla, and supplemented by observations with NEWFIRM at the 4-m telescope on Kitt Peak. To be conservative, we searched for host galaxy candidates within an area of twice the radius of each associated 90% c.l. Swift/XRT error circle.
Results. For 15 of the 17 bursts, we find at least one galaxy within the searching area, and in the remaining two cases only a deep upper limit to RC and Ks can be provided. In seven cases, we discover extremely red objects in the error circles, at least four of which might be dust-enshrouded galaxies. The most remarkable case is the host of GRB 080207, which has a color of (RC − Ks)AB ~ 4.7 mag, and is one of the reddest galaxies ever associated with a GRB. As a by-product of our study we identify the optical afterglow of GRB 070517.
Conclusions. Only a minority of optically dim afterglows are due to Lyman dropout (≲ 1/3). Extinction by dust in the host galaxies might explain all other events. Thereby, a seemingly non-negligible fraction of these hosts are globally dust-enshrouded, extremely red galaxies. This suggests that at least a fraction of GRB afterglows trace a subpopulation of massive starburst galaxies, which are markedly different from the main body of the GRB host galaxy population, namely the blue, subluminous, compact galaxies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA77
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Volume545
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2012

Keywords

  • gamma-ray burst
  • galaxies
  • high-redshift

Cite this

Rossi, A., Klose, S., Ferrero, P., Greiner, J., Arnold, L. A., Gonsalves, E., ... de Ugarte Postigo, A. (2012). A deep search for the host galaxies of gamma-ray bursts with no detected optical afterglow. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 545, 1-28. [A77]. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201117201

A deep search for the host galaxies of gamma-ray bursts with no detected optical afterglow. / Rossi, A.; Klose, S.; Ferrero, P.; Greiner, J.; Arnold, L.~A.; Gonsalves, E.; Hartmann, D.~H.; Updike, A.~C.; Kann, D.~A.; Krühler, T.; Palazzi, E.; Savaglio, S.; Schulze, S.; Afonso, P.~M.~J.; Amati, L.; Castro-Tirado, A.~J.; Clemens, C.; Filgas, R.; Gorosabel, J.; Hunt, L.~K.; Yoldaș, A.; Masetti, N.; Nardini, M.; Nicuesa Guelbenzu, A.; Olivares, F.~E.; Pian, E.; Rau, A.; Schady, P.; Schmidl, S.; Yoldaș, A.; de Ugarte Postigo, A.

In: Astronomy & Astrophysics, Vol. 545, A77, 12.09.2012, p. 1-28.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rossi, A, Klose, S, Ferrero, P, Greiner, J, Arnold, LA, Gonsalves, E, Hartmann, DH, Updike, AC, Kann, DA, Krühler, T, Palazzi, E, Savaglio, S, Schulze, S, Afonso, PMJ, Amati, L, Castro-Tirado, AJ, Clemens, C, Filgas, R, Gorosabel, J, Hunt, LK, Yoldaș, A, Masetti, N, Nardini, M, Nicuesa Guelbenzu, A, Olivares, FE, Pian, E, Rau, A, Schady, P, Schmidl, S, Yoldaș, A & de Ugarte Postigo, A 2012, 'A deep search for the host galaxies of gamma-ray bursts with no detected optical afterglow', Astronomy & Astrophysics, vol. 545, A77, pp. 1-28. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201117201
Rossi, A. ; Klose, S. ; Ferrero, P. ; Greiner, J. ; Arnold, L.~A. ; Gonsalves, E. ; Hartmann, D.~H. ; Updike, A.~C. ; Kann, D.~A. ; Krühler, T. ; Palazzi, E. ; Savaglio, S. ; Schulze, S. ; Afonso, P.~M.~J. ; Amati, L. ; Castro-Tirado, A.~J. ; Clemens, C. ; Filgas, R. ; Gorosabel, J. ; Hunt, L.~K. ; Yoldaș, A. ; Masetti, N. ; Nardini, M. ; Nicuesa Guelbenzu, A. ; Olivares, F.~E. ; Pian, E. ; Rau, A. ; Schady, P. ; Schmidl, S. ; Yoldaș, A. ; de Ugarte Postigo, A. / A deep search for the host galaxies of gamma-ray bursts with no detected optical afterglow. In: Astronomy & Astrophysics. 2012 ; Vol. 545. pp. 1-28.
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title = "A deep search for the host galaxies of gamma-ray bursts with no detected optical afterglow",
abstract = "Context. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) can provide information about star formation at high redshifts. Even in the absence of a bright optical/near-infrared/radio afterglow, the high detection rate of X-ray afterglows by Swift/XRT and its localization precision of 2–3 arcsec facilitates the identification and the study of GRB host galaxies.Aims. We focus on the search for the host galaxies of 17 bursts with arcsec-sized XRT error circles but no detected long-wavelength afterglow, in spite of their deep and rapid follow-up observations. Three of these events can also be classified as truly dark bursts, i.e., the observed upper limit on the optical flux of the afterglow was less than expected based on the measured X-ray flux. Our goals are to identify the GRB host galaxy candidates and characterize their phenomenological parameters.Methods. Our study is based on deep RC and Ks-band observations performed with FORS1, FORS2, VIMOS, ISAAC, and HAWK-I at the ESO/VLT, partly supported by observations with the seven-channel imager GROND at the 2.2-m telescope on La Silla, and supplemented by observations with NEWFIRM at the 4-m telescope on Kitt Peak. To be conservative, we searched for host galaxy candidates within an area of twice the radius of each associated 90{\%} c.l. Swift/XRT error circle.Results. For 15 of the 17 bursts, we find at least one galaxy within the searching area, and in the remaining two cases only a deep upper limit to RC and Ks can be provided. In seven cases, we discover extremely red objects in the error circles, at least four of which might be dust-enshrouded galaxies. The most remarkable case is the host of GRB 080207, which has a color of (RC − Ks)AB ~ 4.7 mag, and is one of the reddest galaxies ever associated with a GRB. As a by-product of our study we identify the optical afterglow of GRB 070517. Conclusions. Only a minority of optically dim afterglows are due to Lyman dropout (≲ 1/3). Extinction by dust in the host galaxies might explain all other events. Thereby, a seemingly non-negligible fraction of these hosts are globally dust-enshrouded, extremely red galaxies. This suggests that at least a fraction of GRB afterglows trace a subpopulation of massive starburst galaxies, which are markedly different from the main body of the GRB host galaxy population, namely the blue, subluminous, compact galaxies.",
keywords = "gamma-ray burst, galaxies, high-redshift",
author = "A. Rossi and S. Klose and P. Ferrero and J. Greiner and L.~A. Arnold and E. Gonsalves and D.~H. Hartmann and A.~C. Updike and D.~A. Kann and T. Kr{\"u}hler and E. Palazzi and S. Savaglio and S. Schulze and P.~M.~J. Afonso and L. Amati and A.~J. Castro-Tirado and C. Clemens and R. Filgas and J. Gorosabel and L.~K. Hunt and A. Yoldaș and N. Masetti and M. Nardini and {Nicuesa Guelbenzu}, A. and F.~E. Olivares and E. Pian and A. Rau and P. Schady and S. Schmidl and A. Yoldaș and {de Ugarte Postigo}, A.",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - A deep search for the host galaxies of gamma-ray bursts with no detected optical afterglow

AU - Rossi, A.

AU - Klose, S.

AU - Ferrero, P.

AU - Greiner, J.

AU - Arnold, L.~A.

AU - Gonsalves, E.

AU - Hartmann, D.~H.

AU - Updike, A.~C.

AU - Kann, D.~A.

AU - Krühler, T.

AU - Palazzi, E.

AU - Savaglio, S.

AU - Schulze, S.

AU - Afonso, P.~M.~J.

AU - Amati, L.

AU - Castro-Tirado, A.~J.

AU - Clemens, C.

AU - Filgas, R.

AU - Gorosabel, J.

AU - Hunt, L.~K.

AU - Yoldaș, A.

AU - Masetti, N.

AU - Nardini, M.

AU - Nicuesa Guelbenzu, A.

AU - Olivares, F.~E.

AU - Pian, E.

AU - Rau, A.

AU - Schady, P.

AU - Schmidl, S.

AU - Yoldaș, A.

AU - de Ugarte Postigo, A.

PY - 2012/9/12

Y1 - 2012/9/12

N2 - Context. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) can provide information about star formation at high redshifts. Even in the absence of a bright optical/near-infrared/radio afterglow, the high detection rate of X-ray afterglows by Swift/XRT and its localization precision of 2–3 arcsec facilitates the identification and the study of GRB host galaxies.Aims. We focus on the search for the host galaxies of 17 bursts with arcsec-sized XRT error circles but no detected long-wavelength afterglow, in spite of their deep and rapid follow-up observations. Three of these events can also be classified as truly dark bursts, i.e., the observed upper limit on the optical flux of the afterglow was less than expected based on the measured X-ray flux. Our goals are to identify the GRB host galaxy candidates and characterize their phenomenological parameters.Methods. Our study is based on deep RC and Ks-band observations performed with FORS1, FORS2, VIMOS, ISAAC, and HAWK-I at the ESO/VLT, partly supported by observations with the seven-channel imager GROND at the 2.2-m telescope on La Silla, and supplemented by observations with NEWFIRM at the 4-m telescope on Kitt Peak. To be conservative, we searched for host galaxy candidates within an area of twice the radius of each associated 90% c.l. Swift/XRT error circle.Results. For 15 of the 17 bursts, we find at least one galaxy within the searching area, and in the remaining two cases only a deep upper limit to RC and Ks can be provided. In seven cases, we discover extremely red objects in the error circles, at least four of which might be dust-enshrouded galaxies. The most remarkable case is the host of GRB 080207, which has a color of (RC − Ks)AB ~ 4.7 mag, and is one of the reddest galaxies ever associated with a GRB. As a by-product of our study we identify the optical afterglow of GRB 070517. Conclusions. Only a minority of optically dim afterglows are due to Lyman dropout (≲ 1/3). Extinction by dust in the host galaxies might explain all other events. Thereby, a seemingly non-negligible fraction of these hosts are globally dust-enshrouded, extremely red galaxies. This suggests that at least a fraction of GRB afterglows trace a subpopulation of massive starburst galaxies, which are markedly different from the main body of the GRB host galaxy population, namely the blue, subluminous, compact galaxies.

AB - Context. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) can provide information about star formation at high redshifts. Even in the absence of a bright optical/near-infrared/radio afterglow, the high detection rate of X-ray afterglows by Swift/XRT and its localization precision of 2–3 arcsec facilitates the identification and the study of GRB host galaxies.Aims. We focus on the search for the host galaxies of 17 bursts with arcsec-sized XRT error circles but no detected long-wavelength afterglow, in spite of their deep and rapid follow-up observations. Three of these events can also be classified as truly dark bursts, i.e., the observed upper limit on the optical flux of the afterglow was less than expected based on the measured X-ray flux. Our goals are to identify the GRB host galaxy candidates and characterize their phenomenological parameters.Methods. Our study is based on deep RC and Ks-band observations performed with FORS1, FORS2, VIMOS, ISAAC, and HAWK-I at the ESO/VLT, partly supported by observations with the seven-channel imager GROND at the 2.2-m telescope on La Silla, and supplemented by observations with NEWFIRM at the 4-m telescope on Kitt Peak. To be conservative, we searched for host galaxy candidates within an area of twice the radius of each associated 90% c.l. Swift/XRT error circle.Results. For 15 of the 17 bursts, we find at least one galaxy within the searching area, and in the remaining two cases only a deep upper limit to RC and Ks can be provided. In seven cases, we discover extremely red objects in the error circles, at least four of which might be dust-enshrouded galaxies. The most remarkable case is the host of GRB 080207, which has a color of (RC − Ks)AB ~ 4.7 mag, and is one of the reddest galaxies ever associated with a GRB. As a by-product of our study we identify the optical afterglow of GRB 070517. Conclusions. Only a minority of optically dim afterglows are due to Lyman dropout (≲ 1/3). Extinction by dust in the host galaxies might explain all other events. Thereby, a seemingly non-negligible fraction of these hosts are globally dust-enshrouded, extremely red galaxies. This suggests that at least a fraction of GRB afterglows trace a subpopulation of massive starburst galaxies, which are markedly different from the main body of the GRB host galaxy population, namely the blue, subluminous, compact galaxies.

KW - gamma-ray burst

KW - galaxies

KW - high-redshift

U2 - 10.1051/0004-6361/201117201

DO - 10.1051/0004-6361/201117201

M3 - Article

VL - 545

SP - 1

EP - 28

JO - Astronomy & Astrophysics

JF - Astronomy & Astrophysics

SN - 0004-6361

M1 - A77

ER -