skip to main content

Title: The Jet Opening Angle and Event Rate Distributions of Short Gamma-Ray Bursts from Late-time X-Ray Afterglows

We present a comprehensive study of 29 short gamma-ray bursts (SGRBs) observed ≈0.8−60 days postburst using Chandra and XMM-Newton. We provide the inferred distributions of the SGRB jet opening angles and true event rates to compare against neutron star merger rates. We perform a uniform analysis and modeling of their afterglows, obtaining 10 opening angle measurements and 19 lower limits. We report on two new opening angle measurements (SGRBs 050724A and 200411A) and eight updated values, obtaining a median value of 〈θj〉 ≈ 6.°1 [−3.°2, +9.°3] (68% confidence on the full distribution) from jet measurements alone. For the remaining events, we inferθj≳ 0.°5–26°. We uncover a population of SGRBs with wider jets ofθj≳ 10° (including two measurements ofθj≳ 15°), representing ∼28% of our sample. Coupled with multiwavelength afterglow information, we derive a total true energy of 〈Etrue,tot〉 ≈ 1049–1050erg, which is consistent with magnetohydrodynamic jet launching mechanisms. Furthermore, we determine a range for the beaming-corrected event rate ofRtrue3601800Gpc−3yr−1, set by the inclusion of a population of wide jets on the low end, and the jet measurements alone on the high end. From a comparison with the latest merger rates, our results are consistent with the majority of SGRBs originating from binary neutron star mergers. However, our inferred rates are well above the latest neutron star–black hole merger rates, consistent with at most a small fraction of SGRBs originating from such mergers.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Medium: X Size: Article No. 13
["Article No. 13"]
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
  2. Abstract

    We report the first star formation history study of the Milky Ways nuclear star cluster (NSC), which includes observational constraints from a large sample of stellar metallicity measurements. These metallicity measurements were obtained from recent surveys from Gemini and the Very Large Telescope of 770 late-type stars within the central 1.5 pc. These metallicity measurements, along with photometry and spectroscopically derived temperatures, are forward modeled with a Bayesian inference approach. Including metallicity measurements improves the overall fit quality, as the low-temperature red giants that were previously difficult to constrain are now accounted for, and the best fit favors a two-component model. The dominant component contains 93% ± 3% of the mass, is metal-rich ([M/H]¯0.45), and has an age of52+3Gyr, which is ∼3 Gyr younger than earlier studies with fixed (solar) metallicity; this younger age challenges coevolutionary models in which the NSC and supermassive black holes formed simultaneously at early times. The minor population component has low metallicity ([M/H]¯1.1) and contains ∼7% of the stellar mass. The age of the minor component is uncertain (0.1–5 Gyr old). Using the estimated parameters, we infer the following NSC stellar remnant population (with ∼18% uncertainty): 1.5 × 105neutron stars, 2.5 × 105stellar-mass black holes (BHs), and 2.2 × 104BH–BH binaries. These predictions result in 2–4 times fewer neutron stars compared to earlier predictions that assume solar metallicity, introducing a possible new path to understand the so-called “missing-pulsar problem”. Finally, we present updated predictions for the BH–BH merger rates (0.01–3 Gpc−3yr−1).

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Luminous red novae (LRNe) are transients characterized by low luminosities and expansion velocities, and they are associated with mergers or common-envelope ejections in stellar binaries. Intermediate-luminosity red transients (ILRTs) are an observationally similar class with unknown origins, but they are generally believed to be either electron-capture supernovae in super-asymptotic giant branch stars or outbursts in dusty luminous blue variables (LBVs). In this paper, we present a systematic sample of eight LRNe and eight ILRTs detected as part of the Census of the Local Universe (CLU) experiment on the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). The CLU experiment spectroscopically classifies ZTF transients associated with nearby (<150 Mpc) galaxies, achieving 80% completeness formr< 20 mag. Using the ZTF-CLU sample, we derive the first systematic LRNe volumetric rate of7.83.7+6.5×105Mpc−3yr−1in the luminosity range −16 ≤Mr≤ −11 mag. We find that, in this luminosity range, the LRN rate scales asdN/dLL2.5±0.3—significantly steeper than the previously derived scaling ofL−1.4±0.3for lower-luminosity LRNe (MV≥ −10 mag). The steeper power law for LRNe at high luminosities is consistent with the massive merger rates predicted by binary population synthesis models. We find that the rates of the brightest LRNe (Mr≤ −13 mag) are consistent with a significant fraction of them being progenitors of double compact objects that merge within a Hubble time. For ILRTs, we derive a volumetric rate of2.61.4+1.8×106Mpc−3yr−1forMr≤ −13.5 mag, which scales asdN/dLL2.5±0.5. This rate is ∼1%–5% of the local core-collapse supernova rate and is consistent with theoretical ECSN rate estimates.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    We present visual classifications of merger-induced tidal disturbances in 143M*∼ 1011Mpost-starburst galaxies atz∼ 0.7 identified in theSQuIGGLESample. This sample spectroscopically selects galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey that have stopped their primary epoch of star formation within the past ∼500 Myr. Visual classifications are performed on Hyper Suprime-Cam imaging. We compare to a control sample of mass- and redshift-matched star-forming and quiescent galaxies from the Large Early Galaxy Census and find that post-starburst galaxies are more likely to be classified as disturbed than either category. This corresponds to a factor of3.61.3+2.9times the disturbance rate of older quiescent galaxies and2.1.73+1.9times the disturbance rate of star-forming galaxies. Assuming tidal features persist for ≲500 Myr, this suggests merging is coincident with quenching in a significant fraction of these post-starbursts. Galaxies with tidal disturbances are younger on average than undisturbed post-starburst galaxies in our sample, suggesting tidal features from a major merger may have faded over time. This may be exacerbated by the fact that, on average, the undisturbed subset is fainter, rendering low-surface-brightness tidal features harder to identify. However, the presence of 10 young (≲150 Myr since quenching) undisturbed galaxies suggests that major mergers are not the only fast physical mechanism that shut down the primary epoch of star formation in massive galaxies at intermediate redshift.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    We present analysis of 17,043 proton kinetic-scale current sheets (CSs) collected over 124 days of Wind spacecraft measurements in the solar wind at 11 samples s−1magnetic field resolution. The CSs have thickness,λ,from a few tens to one thousand kilometers with typical values around 100 km, or within about 0.1–10λpin terms of local proton inertial length,λp. We found that the current density is larger for smaller-scale CSs,J0≈ 6 nAm−2· (λ/100 km)−0.56, but does not statistically exceed a critical value,JA,corresponding to the drift between ions and electrons of local Alvén speed. The observed trend holds in normalized units:J0/JA0.17·(λ/λp)0.51. The CSs are statistically force-free with magnetic shear angle correlated with CS spatial scale:Δθ19°·(λ/λp)0.5. The observed correlations are consistent with local turbulence being the source of proton kinetic-scale CSs in the solar wind, while the mechanisms limiting the current density remain to be understood.

    more » « less