Gamma-ray burst afterglows as probes of the ISM

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The immensely bright and intrinsically simple afterglow spectra of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have proven to be highly effective probes of the interstellar dust and gas in distant, star forming galaxies. Despite significant progress, many aspects of the host galaxy attenuating material are still poorly understood. There is considerable discrepancy between the amount of X-ray and optical afterglow absorption, with the former typically an order of magnitude higher than that expected from the optical line absorption of neutral element species. Similar inconsistencies exist between the abundance of interstellar dust derived from spectroscopic and photometric data, and the relation between the line of sight and integrated host galaxy interstellar medium (ISM) remains unclear. In this paper we review our current understanding on the attenuation properties of the ISM within GRB host galaxies, and present some recent analysis that tries to consolidate multi-wavelength photometric and spectroscopic observations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-63
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of High Energy Astrophysics
Early online date21 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015


  • Gamma-ray burst, ISM:abundances, Dust, Extinction, Galaxies:ISM


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