Volume 537, January 2012
|Number of page(s)||19|
|Published online||20 December 2011|
The dust extinction curves of gamma-ray burst host galaxies⋆
1 Max-Planck Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstraße 1, 85748 Garching, Germany
2 The UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory, Holmbury St Mary, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6NT, UK
3 Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
4 Universe Cluster, Technische Universität München, Boltzmannstraße 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
5 Dark Cosmology Centre, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Juliane Maries Vej 30, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
6 Deparment of Physics, University of Milano-Bicocca, 20126 Milano, Italy
7 Space Science & Engineering Division, Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Rd, San Antonio, TX 78238, USA
8 Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Sternwarte 5, 07778 Tautenburg, Germany
9 NASA Ames Research Center, M/S 244-30, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA
Received: 6 June 2011
Accepted: 14 October 2011
The composition and amount of interstellar dust within gamma-ray burst (GRB) host galaxies is of key importance when addressing selection effects in the GRB redshift distribution, and when studying the properties of their host galaxies. As well as the implications for GRB research, probing the dust within the high-z hosts of GRBs also contributes to our understanding of the conditions of the interstellar medium and star-formation in the distant Universe. Nevertheless, the physical properties of dust within GRB host galaxies continues to be a highly contended issue. In this paper we explore the mean extinction properties of dust within the host galaxies of a sample of 17 GRBs with total host galaxy visual extinction AV < 1 (⟨AV⟩ = 0.4), covering a redshift range z = 0.7−3.1. We find the average host extinction curve to have an ultraviolet slope comparable to that of the LMC, but with little evidence of a 2175 Å dust extinction feature as observed along Milky Way and LMC sightlines. We cannot at present rule out the presence of a 2175 Å feature, and both the standard SMC and LMC extinction curves also provide good fits to our data. However, we can reject an extinction curve that has a UV slope as flat as the mean Milky Way extinction curve, whilst also having a 2175 Å feature as prominent as seen in the mean Milky Way extinction curve. This is in contrast to the clear detection of a 2175 Å bump and the flatter extinction curves of some more heavily extinguished GRBs (AV > 1), which may be indicative of there being a dependence between dust abundance and the wavelength dependence of dust extinction, as has been previously speculated.
Key words: dust, extinction / galaxies: ISM / gamma-ray burst: general / ultraviolet: ISM
Appendix A is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2012
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