Probing dust-obscured star formation in the most massive gamma-ray burst host galaxies

Jochen Greiner, Michal J. Michalowski, Sylvio Klose, Leslie K. Hunt, Gianfranco Gentile, Peter Kamphuis, Rubén Herrero-Illana, Mark Wieringa, Thomas Krühler, Patricia Schady, Jonathan Elliott, John F. Graham, Eduardo Ibar, Fabian Knust, Ana Nicuesa Guelbenzu, Eliana Palazzi, Andrea Rossi, Sandra Savaglio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (SciVal)


Context. As a result of their relation to massive stars, long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) allow the pinpointing of star formation in galaxies independent of redshift, dust obscuration, or galaxy mass/size, thus providing a unique tool to investigate star formation history over cosmic time.

Aims. About half of the optical afterglows of long-duration GRBs are missed owing to dust extinction and are primarily located in the most massive GRB hosts. It is important to investigate the amount of obscured star formation in these GRB host galaxies to understand this bias.

Methods. Radio emission of galaxies correlates with star formation, but does not suffer extinction as do the optical star formation estimators. We selected 11 GRB host galaxies with either large stellar mass or large UV-based and optical-based star formation rates (SFRs) and obtained radio observations of these with the Australia Telescope Compact Array and the Karl Jansky Very Large Array.

Results. Despite intentionally selecting GRB hosts with expected high SFRs, we do not find any radio emission related to star formation in any of our targets. Our upper limit for GRB 100621A implies that the earlier reported radio detection was due to afterglow emission. We detect radio emission from the position of GRB 020819B, but argue that it is in large part, if not completely, due to afterglow contamination.

Conclusions. Half of our sample has radio-derived SFR limits, which are only a factor 2–3 above the optically measured SFRs. This supports other recent studies that the majority of star formation in GRB hosts is not obscured by dust.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA17
Pages (from-to)A17
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • galaxies: star formation, radio continuum: galaxies, gamma-ray burst: general, Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies, Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena


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