GRB 060121: Implications of a short-/intermediate-duration γ-ray burst at high redshift

A. De Ugarte Postigo, A. J. Castro-Tirado, S. Guziy, J. Gorosabel, G. Jóhannesson, M. A. Aloy, S. McBreen, D. Q. Lamb, N. Benitez, M. Jelínek, S. B. Pandey, D. Coe, M. D. Pérez-Ramírez, F. J. Aceituno, M. Alises, J. A. Acosta-Pulido, G. Gómez, R. López, T. Q. Donaghy, Y. E. NakagawaT. Sakamoto, G. R. Ricker, F. R. Hearty, M. Bayliss, G. Gyuk, D. G. York

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Abstract

Since the discovery of the first short-population γ-ray burst (GRB) afterglows in 2005, the handful of observed events have been found to be embedded in nearby (z < 1), bright underlying galaxies. We present multiwavelength observations of GRB 060121, the first short burst observed to clearly outshine its host galaxy (by a factor >102). A photometric redshift for this event places the progenitor at a most probable redshift of z = 4.6, with a less probable scenario of z = 1.7. In either case, GRB 060121 could be the farthermost short-population GRB detected to date and implies an isotropic-equivalent energy release in gamma rays comparable to that seen in long-population bursts. We discuss the implications of the released energy on the nature of the progenitor. These results suggest that GRB 060121 may belong to a family of energetic short-population events, lying at z > 1 and whose optical afterglows would outshine their host galaxies, unlike the first short GRBs observed in 2005. The possibility of GRB 060121 being an intermediate-duration burst is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L83-L87
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume648
Issue number2 II
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 10 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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