Volume 616, August 2018
|Number of page(s)||11|
|Published online||14 August 2018|
The host galaxy of the short GRB 111117A at z = 2.211
Dark Cosmology Centre, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Juliane Maries Vej 30, 2100 København Ø, Denmark
2 Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstraße, 85748 Garching, Germany
3 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, via E. Bianchi 46, 23807 Merate (LC), Italy
4 Instituto de Astrofísica, Facultad de Física, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Vicuña Mackenna 4860, 7820436 Macul, Santiago, Chile
5 Millennium Institute of Astrophysics, Vicuña Mackenna 4860, 7820436 Macul, Santiago, Chile
6 Department of Particle Physics and Astrophysics, Faculty of Physics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel
7 GEPI, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Place Jules Janssen, 92190 Meudon, France
8 Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 6 et CNRS, UMR 7095, Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, 98 bis bd Arago, 75014 Paris, France
9 Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands
10 Centre for Astrophysics and Cosmology, Science Institute, University of Iceland, Dunhagi 5, 107 Reykjavík, Iceland
11 Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC), Glorieta de la Astronomía s/n, 18008 Granada, Spain
12 INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Via Frascati 33, 00040 Monteporzio Catone, Italy
13 ASI-Science Data Centre, Via del Politecnico snc, 00133 Rome, Italy
14 Centre for Astrophysics and Cosmology, University of Nova Gorica, Vipavska 13, 5000 Nova Gorica, Slovenia
15 Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
16 Istituto de Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali, INAF, Via Fosso del Cavaliere 100, 00133 Roma, Italy
17 Heidelberger Institut für Theoretische Studien, Schloss-Wolfsbrunnenweg 35, 69118 Heidelberg, Germany
18 Department of Physics & Astronomy and Leicester Institute of Space & Earth Observation, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
Accepted: 8 February 2018
It is notoriously difficult to localize short γ-ray bursts (sGRBs) and their hosts to measure their redshifts. These measurements, however, are critical for constraining the nature of sGRB progenitors, their redshift distribution, and the r-process element enrichment history of the universe. Here we present spectroscopy of the host galaxy of GRB 111117A and measure its redshift to be z = 2.211. This makes GRB 111117A the most distant high-confidence short duration GRB detected to date. Our spectroscopic redshift supersedes a lower, previously estimated photometric redshift value for this burst. We use the spectroscopic redshift, as well as new imaging data to constrain the nature of the host galaxy and the physical parameters of the GRB. The rest-frame X-ray derived hydrogen column density, for example, is the highest compared to a complete sample of sGRBs and seems to follow the evolution with redshift as traced by the hosts of long GRBs. From the detection of Lyα emission in the spectrum, we are able to constrain the escape fraction of Lyα in the host. The host lies in the brighter end of the expected sGRB host brightness distribution at z = 2.211, and is actively forming stars. Using the observed sGRB host luminosity distribution, we find that between 43% and 71% of all Swift-detected sGRBs have hosts that are too faint at z ~ 2 to allow for a secure redshift determination. This implies that the measured sGRB redshift distribution could be incomplete at high redshift. The high z of GRB 111117A is evidence against a lognormal delay-time model for sGRBs through the predicted redshift distribution of sGRBs, which is very sensitive to high-z sGRBs. From the age of the universe at the time of GRB explosion, an initial neutron star (NS) separation of a0 < 3.1 R⊙ is required in the case where the progenitor system is a circular pair of inspiralling NSs. This constraint excludes some of the longest sGRB formation channels for this burst.
Key words: gamma-ray burst: individual: GRB 111117A / gamma-ray burst: general / galaxies: high-redshift / binaries: general / X-rays: bursts / techniques: imaging spectroscopy
Based on observations collected at ESO/VLT under programme 088.A-0051 and 091.D-0904, at TNG under programme A24TAC_38, at Gemini North under programme GN-2011B-Q-10 and GTC under programme GTC43-11B.
All data, code, and calculations related to the paper along with the paper itself are available at https://github.com/jselsing/GRB111117A
© ESO 2018
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