We present a carefully selected sub-sample of Swift long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) that is complete in redshift. The sample is constructed by considering only bursts with favorable observing conditions for ground-based follow-up searches, which are bright in the 15-150keV Swift/BAT band, i.e., with 1-s peak photon fluxes in excess to 2.6photonss-1cm-2. The sample is composed of 58 bursts, 52 of them with redshift for a completeness level of 90%, while another two have a redshift constraint, reaching a completeness level of 95%. For only three bursts we have no constraint on the redshift. The high level of redshift completeness allows us for the first time to constrain the GRB luminosity function and its evolution with cosmic times in an unbiased way. We find that strong evolution in luminosity (δl = 2.3 ± 0.6) or in density (δd = 1.7 ± 0.5) is required in order to account for the observations. The derived redshift distributions in the two scenarios are consistent with each other, in spite of their different intrinsic redshift distributions. This calls for other indicators to distinguish among different evolution models. Complete samples are at the base of any population studies. In future works we will use this unique sample of Swift bright GRBs to study the properties of the population of long GRBs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science