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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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

  • Author(s): Fruchter, A.S.
  • Levan, A.J.
  • Strolger, L.
  • Vreeswijk, P.M.
  • Thorsett, S.E.
  • Bersier, D.
  • Burud, I.
  • Castro Ceren, 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.
  • Kouveliotou, C.
  • Levay, Z.
  • Livio, M.
  • Metzger, M.R.
  • Nugent, P.E.
  • Petro, L.
  • Pian, E.
  • Rhoads, J.E.
  • Riess, A.G.
  • Sahu, K.C.
  • Smette, A.
  • Tanvir, N.R.
  • Wijers, R.A.M.J.
  • Woosley, S.E.
  • et al.
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 gamma-ray burst. One would then expect that long gamma-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 long gamma-ray bursts are far more concentrated on the very brightest regions of their host galaxies than are the core-collapse supernovae. Furthermore, the host galaxies of the long gamma-ray bursts are significantly fainter and more irregular than the hosts of the core-collapse supernovae. Together these results suggest that long-duration gamma-ray bursts are associated with the most massive stars and may be restricted to galaxies of limited chemical evolution. Our results directly imply that long gamma-ray bursts are relatively rare in galaxies such as our own MilkyWay.

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