A nearby long gamma-ray burst from a merger of compact objects

E. Troja, C. L. Fryer, B. O’Connor, G. Ryan, S. Dichiara, A. Kumar, N. Ito, R. Gupta, R. T. Wollaeger, J. P. Norris, N. Kawai, N. R. Butler, A. Aryan, K. Misra, R. Hosokawa, K. L. Murata, M. Niwano, S. B. Pandey, A. Kutyrev, H. J. van EertenE. A. Chase, Y. D. Hu, M. D. Caballero-Garcia, A. J. Castro-Tirado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are flashes of high-energy radiation arising from energetic cosmic explosions. Bursts of long (greater than two seconds) duration are produced by the core-collapse of massive stars1, and those of short (less than two seconds) duration by the merger of compact objects, such as two neutron stars2. A third class of events with hybrid high-energy properties was identified3, but never conclusively linked to a stellar progenitor. The lack of bright supernovae rules out typical core-collapse explosions4–6, but their distance scales prevent sensitive searches for direct signatures of a progenitor system. Only tentative evidence for a kilonova has been presented7,8. Here we report observations of the exceptionally bright GRB 211211A, which classify it as a hybrid event and constrain its distance scale to only 346 megaparsecs. Our measurements indicate that its lower-energy (from ultraviolet to near-infrared) counterpart is powered by a luminous (approximately 1042 erg per second) kilonova possibly formed in the ejecta of a compact object merger.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-231
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume612
Issue number7939
Early online date7 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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