Volume 556, August 2013
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||01 August 2013|
The high-redshift star formation rate derived from gamma-ray bursts: possible origin and cosmic reionization
School of Astronomy and Space Science, Nanjing University, 210093 Nanjing, PR China
2 Department of Physics, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, PR China
3 Key Laboratory of Modern Astronomy and Astrophysics (Nanjing University), Ministry of Education, 210093 Nanjing, PR China
Accepted: 4 June 2013
The collapsar model of long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) indicates that they may trace the star formation history, so long GRBs may be a useful tool for measuring the high-redshift star formation rate (SFR). The collapsar model explains GRB formation via the collapse of a rapidly rotating massive star with M > 30 M⊙ into a black hole, which may imply a decrease in SFR at high redshift. However, we find that the Swift GRBs during 2005 to 2012 are biased when tracing the SFR, including a factor about (1 + z)0.5, which agrees with recent results. After taking this factor, the SFR derived from GRBs does not show a steep drop up to z ~ 9.4. We consider the GRBs produced by rapidly rotating metal-poor stars with low masses to explain the high-redshift GRB rate excess. The chemically homogeneous evolution scenario (CHES) of rapidly rotating stars with mass higher than 12 M⊙ is recognized as a promising path towards collapsars in connection with long GRBs. Our results indicate that the stars in the mass range 12 M⊙ < M < 30 M⊙ for low enough metallicity Z ≤ 0.004 with the GRB efficiency factor 10-5 can fit the derived SFR with good accuracy. Combining these two factors, we find that the conversion efficiency from massive stars to GRBs is enhanced by a factor of 10, which may explain the excess of the high-redshift GRB rate. We also investigate the cosmic reionization history using the derived SFR. The GRB-inferred SFR would be sufficient to maintain cosmic reionization over 6 < z < 10 and reproduce the observed optical depth of Thomson scattering to the cosmic microwave background.
Key words: gamma rays: general / stars: formation / dark ages, reionization, first stars
© ESO, 2013
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