Long γ-ray bursts and core-collapse supernovae have different environments

A. S. Fruchter, A. J. Levan, L. Strolger, P. M. Vreeswijk, S. E. Thorsett, D. Bersier, I. Burud, J. M. Castro Cerón, A. J. Castro-Tirado, C. Conselice, T. Dahlen, H. C. Ferguson, J. P.U. Fynbo, P. M. Garnavich, R. A. Gibbons, J. Gorosabel, T. R. Gull, J. Hjorth, S. T. Holland, C. KouveliotouZ. Levay, M. Livio, M. R. Metzger, P. E. Nugent, L. Petro, E. Pian, J. E. Rhoads, A. G. Riess, K. C. Sahu, A. Smette, N. R. Tanvir, R. A.M.J. Wijers, S. E. Woosley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

604 Scopus citations

Abstract

When massive stars exhaust their fuel, they collapse and often produce the extraordinarily bright explosions known as core-collapse supernovae. On occasion, this stellar collapse also powers an even more brilliant relativistic explosion known as a long-duration γ-ray burst. One would then expect that these long γ-ray bursts and core-collapse supernovae should be found in similar galactic environments. Here we show that this expectation is wrong. We find that the γ-ray bursts are far more concentrated in the very brightest regions of their host galaxies than are the core-collapse supernovae. Furthermore, the host galaxies of the long γ-ray bursts are significantly fainter and more irregular than the hosts of the core-collapse supernovae. Together these results suggest that long-duration γ-ray bursts are associated with the most extremely massive stars and may be restricted to galaxies of limited chemical evolution. Our results directly imply that long γ-ray bursts are relatively rare in galaxies such as our own Milky Way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-468
Number of pages6
JournalNature
Volume441
Issue number7092
DOIs
StatePublished - May 25 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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    Fruchter, A. S., Levan, A. J., Strolger, L., Vreeswijk, P. M., Thorsett, S. E., Bersier, D., Burud, I., Castro Cerón, J. M., Castro-Tirado, A. J., Conselice, C., Dahlen, T., Ferguson, H. C., Fynbo, J. P. U., Garnavich, P. M., Gibbons, R. A., Gorosabel, J., Gull, T. R., Hjorth, J., Holland, S. T., ... Woosley, S. E. (2006). Long γ-ray bursts and core-collapse supernovae have different environments. Nature, 441(7092), 463-468. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature04787