Journal Article

Probability for chance coincidence of a gamma-ray burst with a galaxy on the sky

Maria Angela Campisi and Li-Xin Li

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 391, issue 2, pages 935-941
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online November 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13948.x
Probability for chance coincidence of a gamma-ray burst with a galaxy on the sky

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The nearby long GRB 060614 was not accompanied by a supernova, challenging the collapsar model for long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and the traditional classification scheme for GRBs. However, Cobb et al. have argued that the association of GRB 060614 and its host galaxy could be chance coincidence. In this work, we calculate the probability for a GRB to be randomly coincident with a galaxy on the sky, using a galaxy luminosity function obtained from current galaxy surveys. We find that, with a magnitude limit that current telescopes can reach and an evolving galaxy luminosity function obtained from VIMOS VLT Deep Survey, the probability for chance coincidence of a GRB with a galaxy of redshift <1.5 is about several per cent. These results agree with previous estimates based on the observed galaxies. For the case of GRB 060614, the probability for it to be coincident with a z < 0.125 galaxy by angular separation <0.5 arcsec is ≈0.02 per cent, indicating that the association of GRB 060614 and its host galaxy is secure. If the telescope magnitude limit is significantly improved in future, the probability for GRB-galaxy association will be considerably large, making it very problematic to identify a GRB host based only on the superposition of a GRB and a galaxy on the sky.

Keywords: galaxies: luminosity function, mass function; gamma-rays: bursts

Journal Article.  4847 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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