Journal Article

Probing the very high redshift Universe with gamma-ray bursts: prospects for observations with future X-ray instruments

S. Campana, R. Salvaterra, G. Tagliaferri, C. Kouveliotou and J. Grindlay

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 410, issue 3, pages 1611-1616
Published in print January 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17540.x
Probing the very high redshift Universe with gamma-ray bursts: prospects for observations with future X-ray instruments

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Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most violent explosions in the Universe. Long-duration GRBs are associated with the collapse of massive stars, rivalling their host galaxies in luminosity. The discovery of the most distant spectroscopically confirmed object in the Universe, GRB090423, opened a new window on the high-redshift Universe, making it possible to study the cosmic reionization epoch and the preceding dark ages, as well as the generation of the first stars (Population III) using GRBs. Obviously this enables a wealth of new studies using the near-infrared (NIR) characteristics of GRB afterglows. Here we explore a different path, focusing on the next generation of X-ray missions with large-area-focusing telescopes and fast-repointing capabilities. We found that X-ray data can complement NIR observations and for the brightest GRBs can provide an accurate and independent redshift determination. Metallicity studies can also be carried out profitably once the redshift is known. Finally we discuss observational signatures of GRBs arising from Population III stars in the X-ray band.

Keywords: gamma-ray burst: general; X-rays: general

Journal Article.  4851 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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