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Title: A population of massive, luminous galaxies hosting heavily dust-obscured gamma-ray bursts: Implications for the use of GRBs as tracers of cosmic star formation

We present observations and analysis of the host galaxies of 23 heavily dust-obscured gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) observed by the Swift satellite during the years 2005-2009, representing all GRBs with an unambiguous host-frame extinction of A{sub V} > 1 mag from this period. Deep observations with Keck, Gemini, Very Large Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer successfully detect the host galaxies and establish spectroscopic or photometric redshifts for all 23 events, enabling us to provide measurements of the intrinsic host star formation rates, stellar masses, and mean extinctions. Compared to the hosts of unobscured GRBs at similar redshifts, we find that the hosts of dust-obscured GRBs are (on average) more massive by about an order of magnitude and also more rapidly star forming and dust obscured. While this demonstrates that GRBs populate all types of star-forming galaxies, including the most massive, luminous systems at z ≈ 2, at redshifts below 1.5 the overall GRB population continues to show a highly significant aversion to massive galaxies and a preference for low-mass systems relative to what would be expected given a purely star-formation-rate-selected galaxy sample. This supports the notion that the GRB rate is strongly dependent on metallicity, and may suggest that themore » most massive galaxies in the universe underwent a transition in their chemical properties ∼9 Gyr ago. We also conclude that, based on the absence of unobscured GRBs in massive galaxies and the absence of obscured GRBs in low-mass galaxies, the dust distributions of the lowest-mass and the highest-mass galaxies are relatively homogeneous, while intermediate-mass galaxies (∼10{sup 9} M {sub ☉}) have diverse internal properties.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ; ; ; ;  [4] ; ; ; ;  [5] ; ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8] ;  [9]
  1. Department of Astronomy, California Institute of Technology, MC 249-17, 1200 East California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
  2. Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL (United Kingdom)
  3. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH (United Kingdom)
  4. Department of Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3411 (United States)
  5. Dark Cosmology Centre, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen (Denmark)
  6. Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States)
  7. Centre for Astrophysics and Cosmology, Science Institute, University of Iceland, Dunhagi 5, 107 Reykjavík (Iceland)
  8. Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, UCO/Lick Observatory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)
  9. Department of Astronomy, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22341920
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 778; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; CHEMICAL PROPERTIES; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; COSMIC GAMMA BURSTS; DISTRIBUTION; DUSTS; GALAXIES; MASS; METALLICITY; RED SHIFT; SATELLITES; SPACE; STARS; TELESCOPES; UNIVERSE