Over the last decade there has been immense progress in the follow-up of short and long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), resulting in a significant rise in the detection rate of X-ray and optical afterglows, in the determination of GRB redshifts, and of the identification of the underlying host galaxies. Nevertheless, our theoretical understanding of the progenitors and central engines powering these vast explosions is lagging behind, and a newly identified class of ultra-long GRBs has fuelled speculation on the existence of a new channel of GRB formation. In this paper we present high signal-to-noise X-Shooter observations of the host galaxy of GRB 130925A, which is the fourth unambiguously identified ultra-long GRB, with prompt γ-ray emission detected for ~20 ks. The GRB line of sight was close to the host galaxy nucleus, and our spectroscopic observations cover this region along the bulge/disk of the galaxy and a bright star-forming region within the outskirts of the galaxy. From our broad wavelength coverage, we obtain accurate metallicity and dust-extinction measurements at the galaxy nucleus and at an outer star-forming region, and measure a super-solar metallicity at both locations, placing this galaxy within the 10–20% most metal-rich GRB host galaxies. Such a high metal enrichment has significant implications on the progenitor models of both long and ultra-long GRBs, although the edge-on orientation of the host galaxy does not allow us to rule out a large metallicity variation along our line of sight. The spatially resolved spectroscopic observations presented in this paper offer important insight into variations in the metal and dust abundance within GRB host galaxies. However, they also illustrate the need for integral field unit observations on a larger sample of GRB host galaxies of a variety of metallicities to provide a more quantitative view on the relation between the GRB circumburst environment and the galaxy-whole properties.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Astronomy & Astrophysics|
|Early online date||15 Jul 2015|
|Publication status||Published - 31 Jul 2015|
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- Department of Physics - Senior Lecturer
Person: Research & Teaching