skip to main content

Title: A deep survey of short GRB host galaxies over z ∼ 0–2: implications for offsets, redshifts, and environments

A significant fraction (30 per cent) of well-localized short gamma-ray bursts (sGRBs) lack a coincident host galaxy. This leads to two main scenarios: (i) that the progenitor system merged outside of the visible light of its host, or (ii) that the sGRB resided within a faint and distant galaxy that was not detected by follow-up observations. Discriminating between these scenarios has important implications for constraining the formation channels of neutron star mergers, the rate and environments of gravitational wave sources, and the production of heavy elements in the Universe. In this work, we present the results of our observing campaign targeted at 31 sGRBs that lack a putative host galaxy. Our study effectively doubles the sample of well-studied sGRB host galaxies, now totaling 72 events of which $28{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ lack a coincident host to deep limits (r ≳ 26 or F110W ≳ 27 AB mag), and represents the largest homogeneously selected catalogue of sGRB offsets to date. We find that 70 per cent of sub-arcsecond localized sGRBs occur within 10 kpc of their host’s nucleus, with a median projected physical offset of 5.6 kpc. Using this larger population, we discover an apparent redshift evolution in their locations: bursts at low-z occur at 2 × larger offsets compared to those at z > 0.5. This evolution could be due to a physical evolution of the host galaxies themselves or a bias against faint high-z galaxies. Furthermore, we discover a sample of hostless sGRBs at z ≳ 1 that are indicative of a larger high-z population, constraining the redshift distribution and disfavoring lognormal delay time models.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 4890-4928
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    We present the discovery of the first millimeter afterglow of a short-durationγ-ray burst (SGRB) and the first confirmed afterglow of an SGRB localized by the GUANO system on Swift. Our Atacama Large Millimeter/Sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) detection of SGRB 211106A establishes an origin in a faint host galaxy detected in Hubble Space Telescope imaging at 0.7 ≲z≲ 1.4. From the lack of a detectable optical afterglow, coupled with the bright millimeter counterpart, we infer a high extinction,AV≳ 2.6 mag along the line of sight, making this one of the most highly dust-extincted SGRBs known to date. The millimeter-band light curve captures the passage of the synchrotron peak from the afterglow forward shock and reveals a jet break attjet=29.24.0+4.5days. For a presumed redshift ofz= 1, we infer an opening angle,θjet= (15.°5 ± 1.°4), and beaming-corrected kinetic energy oflog(EK/erg)=51.8±0.3, making this one of the widest and most energetic SGRB jets known to date. Combining all published millimeter-band upper limits in conjunction with the energetics for a large sample of SGRBs, we find that energetic outflows in high-density environments are more likely to have detectable millimeter counterparts. Concerted afterglow searches with ALMA should yield detection fractions of 24%–40% on timescales of ≳2 days at rates of ≈0.8–1.6 per year, outpacing the historical discovery rate of SGRB centimeter-band afterglows.

    more » « less

    The James Webb Space Telescope will have the power to characterize high-redshift quasars at z ≥ 6 with an unprecedented depth and spatial resolution. While the brightest quasars at such redshift (i.e. with bolometric luminosity $L_{\rm bol}\geqslant 10^{46}\, \rm erg/s$) provide us with key information on the most extreme objects in the Universe, measuring the black hole (BH) mass and Eddington ratios of fainter quasars with $L_{\rm bol}= 10^{45}-10^{46}\, \rm erg\,s^{ -1}$ opens a path to understand the build-up of more normal BHs at z ≥ 6. In this paper, we show that the Illustris, TNG100, TNG300, Horizon-AGN, EAGLE, and SIMBA large-scale cosmological simulations do not agree on whether BHs at z ≥ 4 are overmassive or undermassive at fixed galaxy stellar mass with respect to the MBH − M⋆ scaling relation at z = 0 (BH mass offsets). Our conclusions are unchanged when using the local scaling relation produced by each simulation or empirical relations. We find that the BH mass offsets of the simulated faint quasar population at z ≥ 4, unlike those of bright quasars, represent the BH mass offsets of the entire BH population, for all the simulations. Thus, a population of faint quasars with $L_{\rm bol}= 10^{45}-10^{46}\, \rm erg\,s^{ -1}$ observed by JWST can provide key constraints on the assembly of BHs at high redshift. Moreover, this will help constraining the high-redshift regime of cosmological simulations, including BH seeding, early growth, and co-evolution with the host galaxies. Our results also motivate the need for simulations of larger cosmological volumes down to z ∼ 6, with the same diversity of subgrid physics, in order to gain statistics on the most extreme objects at high redshift.

    more » « less
  3. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We study the projected spatial offset between the ultraviolet continuum and Ly α emission for 65 lensed and unlensed galaxies in the Epoch of Reionization (5 ≤ z ≤ 7), the first such study at these redshifts, in order to understand the potential for these offsets to confuse estimates of the Ly α properties of galaxies observed in slit spectroscopy. While we find that ∼40 per cent of galaxies in our sample show significant projected spatial offsets ($|\Delta _{\rm {Ly}\alpha -\rm {UV}}|$), we find a relatively modest average projected offset of $|\widetilde{\Delta }_{\rm {Ly}\alpha -\rm {UV}}|$  = 0.61 ± 0.08 proper kpc for the entire sample. A small fraction of our sample, ∼10 per cent, exhibit offsets in excess of 2 proper kpc, with offsets seen up to ∼4 proper kpc, sizes that are considerably larger than the effective radii of typical galaxies at these redshifts. An internal comparison and a comparison to studies at lower redshift yielded no significant evidence of evolution of $|\Delta _{\rm {Ly}\alpha -\rm {UV}}|$ with redshift. In our sample, ultraviolet (UV)-bright galaxies ($\widetilde{L_{\mathrm{ UV}}}/L^{\ast }_{\mathrm{ UV}}=0.67$) showed offsets a factor of three greater than their fainter counterparts ($\widetilde{L_{\mathrm{ UV}}}/L^{\ast }_{\mathrm{ UV}}=0.10$), 0.89 ± 0.18 versus 0.27 ± 0.05 proper kpc, respectively. The presence of companion galaxies and early stage merging activity appeared to be unlikely causes of these offsets. Rather, these offsets appear consistent with a scenario in which internal anisotropic processes resulting from stellar feedback, which is stronger in UV-brighter galaxies, facilitate Ly α fluorescence and/or backscattering from nearby or outflowing gas. The reduction in the Ly α flux due to offsets was quantified. It was found that the differential loss of Ly α photons for galaxies with average offsets is not, if corrected for, a limiting factor for all but the narrowest slit widths (<0.4 arcsec). However, for the largest offsets, if they are mostly perpendicular to the slit major axis, slit losses were found to be extremely severe in cases where slit widths of ≤1 arcsec were employed, such as those planned for James Webb Space Telescope/NIRSpec observations. 
    more » « less

    We examine the dual [both black hole (BH) active] and offset (one BH active and in distinct galaxies) active galactic nucleus (AGN) population (comprising ∼ 2000 pairs at $0.5\, \text{kpc}\lesssim \Delta r\lt 30\, \text{kpc}$) at z = 2 ∼ 3 in the ASTRID simulation covering (360 cMpc)3. The dual (offset) AGN make up 3.0(0.5) per cent of all AGN at z = 2. The dual fraction is roughly constant while the offset fraction increases by a factor of 10 from z = 4 ∼ 2. Compared with the full AGN population, duals are characterized by low MBH/M* ratios, high specific star formation rates (sSFR) of $\sim 1\, \text{Gyr}^{-1}$, and high Eddington ratios (∼0.05, double that of single AGN). Dual AGNs are formed in major galaxy mergers (typically involving $M_\text{halo}\lt 10^{13}\, M_\odot$), with simular-mass BHs. At small separations (when host galaxies are in the late phase of the merger), duals become 2 ∼ 8 times brighter (albeit more obscured) than at larger separations. 80  per cent of the bright, close duals would merge within $\sim 500\, \text{Myr}$. Notably, the initially less-massive BHs in duals frequently become the brighter AGN during galaxy mergers. In offset AGN, the active BH is typically ≳ 10 times more massive than its non-active counterpart and than most BHs in duals. Offsets are predominantly formed in minor galaxy mergers with the active BH residing in the centre of massive haloes ($M_\text{ halo}\sim 10^{13-14}\, \mathrm{M}_\odot$). In these deep potentials, gas stripping is common and the secondary quickly deactivates. The stripping also leads to inefficient orbital decay amongst offsets, which stall at $\Delta r\sim 5\, \text{kpc}$ for a few hundred Myrs.

    more » « less
  5. ABSTRACT We use the magnetic-hydrodynamical simulation TNG50 to study the evolution of barred massive disc galaxies. Massive spiral galaxies are already present as early as z = 4, and bar formation takes place already at those early times. The bars grow longer and stronger as the host galaxies evolve, with the bar sizes increasing at a pace similar to that of the disc scalelengths. The bar fraction mildly evolves with redshift for galaxies with $M_{*}\ge 10^{10}\rm M_{\odot }$, being greater than $\sim 40{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ at 0.5 < z < 3 and $\sim 30{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ at z = 0. When bars larger than a given physical size ($\ge 2\, \rm kpc$) or the angular resolution limit of twice the I-band angular PSF FWHM of the HST are considered, the bar fraction dramatically decreases with increasing redshift, reconciling the theoretical predictions with observational data. We find that barred galaxies have an older stellar population, lower gas fractions, and star formation rates than unbarred galaxies. In most cases, the discs of barred galaxies assembled earlier and faster than the discs of unbarred galaxies. We also find that barred galaxies are typical in haloes with larger concentrations and smaller spin parameters than unbarred galaxies. Furthermore, the inner regions of barred galaxies are more baryon-dominated than those of unbarred galaxies but have comparable global stellar mass fractions. Our findings suggest that the bar population could be used as a potential tracer of the buildup of disc galaxies and their host haloes. With this paper, we release a catalogue of barred galaxies in TNG50 at six redshifts between z = 4 and 0. 
    more » « less