Journal Article

Near-infrared spectroscopy of gamma-ray burst host galaxies at <i>z</i>≳: insights into host galaxy dynamics and interpretations of afterglow absorption spectra

Hsiao-Wen Chen

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 419, issue 4, pages 3039-3047
Published in print February 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Near-infrared spectroscopy of gamma-ray burst host galaxies at z≳: insights into host galaxy dynamics and interpretations of afterglow absorption spectra

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This paper presents near-infrared echellette spectra of faint galaxies in the fields around GRB 050820A at redshift z= 2.613 and GRB 060418 at z= 1.490. The spectroscopic data show that both gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) originate in a dynamic environment of interacting galaxies separated by <15 h−1 kpc in projected distance and |Δv| ≲ 60   in line-of-sight velocity. The optical afterglows revealed in early-epoch Hubble Space Telescope images are at least 2.5 h−1 kpc (or 0.4 arcsec) away from the high surface brightness regions of the interacting members, indicating that the GRB events occurred either in the outskirts of a compact star-forming galaxy or in a low surface brightness satellite. Comparisons of the systemic redshifts of the host galaxies and the velocity distribution of absorbing clouds revealed in early-time afterglow spectra further show that the majority of the absorbing clouds are redshifted from these compact star-forming galaxies. These include the gas producing fine-structure absorption lines at physical distances d∼ afew × 100 pc from the GRB afterglow. The lack of blueshifted absorbing clouds and the spatial offset of the GRB event from the star-forming regions make it difficult to attribute the observed large velocity spread (∼200–400  ) of absorbing gas in the GRB host to galactic-scale outflows. We consider a scenario in which the GRB event occurred in a dwarf satellite of the interacting group and interpret the broad absorption signatures in the afterglow spectra as a collective effect of the turbulent halo gas and the host star-forming interstellar medium. We briefly discuss the implications for the absorption properties observed in the afterglow spectra.

Keywords: gamma-ray burst: individual: GRB 050820A; gamma-ray burst: individual: GRB 060418; ISM: kinematics and dynamics; galaxies: formation; galaxies: high-redshift; cosmology: observations

Journal Article.  7041 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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