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Discovery and confirmation of the shortest gamma-ray burst from a collapsar

Ahumada, Tomás and Singer, Leo P. and Anand, Shreya and Coughlin, Michael W. and Kasliwal, Mansi M. and Ryan, Geoffrey and Andreoni, Igor and Cenko, S. Bradley and Fremling, Christoffer and Kumar, Harsh and Pang, Peter T. H. and Burns, Eric and Cunningham, Virginia and Dichiara, Simone and Dietrich, Tim and Svinkin, Dmitry S. and Almualla, Mouza and Castro-Tirado, Alberto J. and De, Kishalay and Dunwoody, Rachel and Gatkine, Pradip and Hammerstein, Erica and Iyyani, Shabnam and Mangan, Joseph and Perley, Dan and Purkayastha, Sonalika and Bellm, Eric and Bhalerao, Varun and Bolin, Bryce and Bulla, Mattia and Cannella, Christopher and Chandra, Poonam and Duev, Dmitry A. and Frederiks, Dmitry and Gal-Yam, Avishay and Graham, Matthew and Ho, Anna Y. Q. and Hurley, Kevin and Karambelkar, Viraj and Kool, Erik C. and Kulkarni, S. R. and Mahabal, Ashish and Masci, Frank and McBreen, Sheila and Pandey, Shashi B. and Reusch, Simeon and Ridnaia, Anna and Rosnet, Philippe and Rusholme, Benjamin and Sagués Carracedo, Ana and Smith, Roger and Soumagnac, Maayane and Stein, Robert and Troja, Eleonora and Tsvetkova, Anastasia and Walters, Richard and Valeev, Azamat F. (2021) Discovery and confirmation of the shortest gamma-ray burst from a collapsar. Nature Astronomy, 5 (9). pp. 917-927. ISSN 2397-3366. doi:10.1038/s41550-021-01428-7.

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Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are among the brightest and most energetic events in the Universe. The duration and hardness distribution of GRBs has two clusters(1), now understood to reflect (at least) two different progenitors(2). Short-hard GRBs (SGRBs; T₉₀ < 2 s) arise from compact binary mergers, and long-soft GRBs (LGRBs; T₉₀ > 2 s) have been attributed to the collapse of peculiar massive stars (collapsars)(3). The discovery of SN 1998bw/GRB 980425 (ref. 4) marked the first association of an LGRB with a collapsar, and AT 2017gfo (ref. 5)/GRB 170817A/GW170817 (ref. 6) marked the first association of an SGRB with a binary neutron star merger, which also produced a gravitational wave. Here, we present the discovery of ZTF20abwysqy (AT2020scz), a fast-fading optical transient in the Fermi satellite and the Interplanetary Network localization regions of GRB 200826A; X-ray and radio emission further confirm that this is the afterglow. Follow-up imaging (at rest-frame 16.5 days) reveals excess emission above the afterglow that cannot be explained as an underlying kilonova, but which is consistent with being the supernova. Although the GRB duration is short (rest-frame T₉₀ of 0.65 s), our panchromatic follow-up data confirm a collapsar origin. GRB 200826A is the shortest LGRB found with an associated collapsar; it appears to sit on the brink between a successful and a failed collapsar. Our discovery is consistent with the hypothesis that most collapsars fail to produce ultra-relativistic jets.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access Correction ReadCube access - Author Correction Paper ItemData
Ahumada, Tomás0000-0002-2184-6430
Singer, Leo P.0000-0001-9898-5597
Anand, Shreya0000-0003-3768-7515
Coughlin, Michael W.0000-0002-8262-2924
Kasliwal, Mansi M.0000-0002-5619-4938
Ryan, Geoffrey0000-0001-9068-7157
Andreoni, Igor0000-0002-8977-1498
Cenko, S. Bradley0000-0003-1673-970X
Fremling, Christoffer0000-0002-4223-103X
Kumar, Harsh0000-0003-0871-4641
Pang, Peter T. H.0000-0001-7041-3239
Burns, Eric0000-0001-8018-5348
Cunningham, Virginia0000-0003-2292-0441
Dichiara, Simone0000-0001-6849-1270
Dietrich, Tim0000-0003-2374-307X
Svinkin, Dmitry S.0000-0002-2208-2196
Almualla, Mouza0000-0002-4694-7123
De, Kishalay0000-0002-8989-0542
Dunwoody, Rachel0000-0003-3248-5447
Gatkine, Pradip0000-0002-1955-2230
Hammerstein, Erica0000-0002-5698-8703
Iyyani, Shabnam0000-0002-2525-3464
Perley, Dan0000-0001-8472-1996
Bellm, Eric0000-0001-8018-5348
Bhalerao, Varun0000-0002-6112-7609
Bolin, Bryce0000-0002-4950-6323
Bulla, Mattia0000-0002-8255-5127
Cannella, Christopher0000-0003-2667-7290
Chandra, Poonam0000-0002-0844-6563
Duev, Dmitry A.0000-0001-5060-8733
Frederiks, Dmitry0000-0002-1153-6340
Gal-Yam, Avishay0000-0002-3653-5598
Graham, Matthew0000-0002-3168-0139
Ho, Anna Y. Q.0000-0002-9017-3567
Hurley, Kevin0000-0003-3315-1975
Karambelkar, Viraj0000-0003-2758-159X
Kool, Erik C.0000-0002-7252-3877
Kulkarni, S. R.0000-0001-5390-8563
Mahabal, Ashish0000-0003-2242-0244
Masci, Frank0000-0002-8532-9395
McBreen, Sheila0000-0002-1477-618X
Reusch, Simeon0000-0002-7788-628X
Ridnaia, Anna0000-0001-9477-5437
Rosnet, Philippe0000-0002-6099-7565
Rusholme, Benjamin0000-0001-7648-4142
Sagués Carracedo, Ana0000-0002-3498-2167
Smith, Roger0000-0001-7062-9726
Soumagnac, Maayane0000-0001-6753-1488
Stein, Robert0000-0003-2434-0387
Troja, Eleonora0000-0002-1869-7817
Tsvetkova, Anastasia0000-0003-0292-6221
Walters, Richard0000-0002-1835-6078
Valeev, Azamat F.0000-0003-3513-3527
Additional Information:© 2021 Nature Publishing Group. Received 30 March 2021; Accepted 14 June 2021; Published 26 July 2021. This work was supported by the GROWTH (Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen) project funded by the National Science Foundation under PIRE grant No. 1545949. GROWTH is a collaborative project among California Institute of Technology (USA), University of Maryland College Park (USA), University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (USA), Texas Tech University (USA), San Diego State University (USA), University of Washington (USA), Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA), Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan), National Central University (Taiwan), Indian Institute of Astrophysics (India), Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (India), Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), The Oskar Klein Centre at Stockholm University (Sweden), Humboldt University (Germany), Liverpool John Moores University (UK) and University of Sydney (Australia). Based on observations obtained with the Samuel Oschin Telescope 48-inch and the 60-inch Telescope at the Palomar Observatory as part of the Zwicky Transient Facility project. ZTF is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. AST-1440341 and a collaboration including Caltech, IPAC, the Weizmann Institute for Science, the Oskar Klein Center at Stockholm University, the University of Maryland, the University of Washington (UW), Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron and Humboldt University, Los Alamos National Laboratories, the TANGO Consortium of Taiwan, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. Operations are conducted by Caltech Optical Observatories, IPAC and UW. The work is partly based on the observations made with the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), installed in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, in the island of La Palma. The material is based on work supported by NASA under award No. 80GSFC17M0002. A.J.C.T. acknowledges all co-Is of the GTC proposal and the financial support from the State Agency for Research of the Spanish MCIU through the ‘Center of Excellence Severo Ochoa’ award to the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (SEV-2017-0709). The ZTF forced-photometry service was funded under the Heising-Simons Foundation grant No. 12540303 (PI: Graham). S.M. and J.M. acknowledge support from Science Foundation Ireland under grant No. 17/CDA/4723. R.D. acknowledges support from the Irish Research Council (IRC) under grant GOIPG/2019/2033. Analysis was performed on the YORP cluster administered by the Center for Theory and Computation, part of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Maryland. Resources supporting this work were provided by the NASA High-End Computing (HEC) Program through the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division at Ames Research Center. These results also made use of Lowell Observatory’s Lowell Discovery Telescope (LDT), formerly the Discovery Channel Telescope. Lowell operates the LDT in partnership with Boston University, Northern Arizona University, the University of Maryland and the University of Toledo. Partial support of the LDT was provided by Discovery Communications. LMI was built by Lowell Observatory using funds from the National Science Foundation (AST-1005313). M.W.C. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation with grant No. PHY-2010970. S.A. gratefully acknowledges support from the GROWTH PIRE grant (1545949). Part of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. E.C.K. acknowledges support from the G.R.E.A.T research environment and the Wenner-Gren Foundations. P.T.H.P. is supported by the research program of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). H.K. is an LSSTC Data Science Fellow and thanks the LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program, which is funded by LSSTC, NSF Cybertraining grant No. 1829740, the Brinson Foundation and the Moore Foundation; his participation in the program has benefited this work. S.M. and J.M. acknowledge support from Science Foundation Ireland under grant No. 17/CDA/4723. R.D. acknowledges support from the Irish Research Council (IRC) under grant GOIPG/2019/2033. P.C. is a Swarana Jayanti Fellow and acknowledges support from the Department of Science and Technology via award No. DST/SJF/PSA-01/2014-15). We thank the staff of the GMRT who made these observations possible. GMRT is run by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. P.C. is a Swarna Jayanti Fellow and thanks the Department of Science & Technology in India. We thank D. Bhattacharya, A. Vibhute and V. Shenoy for help with the CZTI analysis. V.A.F. acknowledges support from the RFBR 18-29-21030. Data availability: Upon request, the corresponding author will provide data required to reproduce the figures, including light curves and spectra for any objects. The authors note that most of these data are publicly available, either though ZTF, the Gemini archive (GN-DD-104), the Swift catalogue ( or GCNs . Code availability: Upon request, the corresponding author will provide code (primarily in Python) used to produce the figures. Author Contributions: T.A. and L.P.S. were the primary authors of the manuscript. M.M.K. is the PI of GROWTH and the ZTF EM-GW program, and S.B.C. is PI of the SGRB program. M.W.C., S.A., I.A. and M.A. support development of the GROWTH ToO Marshal and associated program. H.K. and C.F. led the reductions of the Gemini data. E.Burns led analysis of the Fermi gamma-ray data. G.R., V.C., T.D. and P.T.H.P. contributed to the afterglow, KN and SN modelling. R.D. and J.M. were the GBM burst advocates and provided gamma-ray analysis. D.S.S., D.F., K.H., A.R. and A.T. performed IPN and Konus analyses. A.J.C.-T., A.F.V. and S.B.P. provided the GTC spectrum. K.D. performed the WIRC data reduction. P.C. and S.P. provided GMRT data. P.G., S.D. and E.T. provided the LDT data. E.H. performed galaxy and SED fitting. S.I. and V.B. performed the Astrosat analyses. C.C. contributed to the GROWTH Marshal. B.B., A.G.-Y., D.P., A.Y.Q.H., V.K., E.C.K., S.R., A.S.C. and R.Stein contributed to candidate scanning, vetting, and classification. E.Bellm., D.A.D., M.G., S.R.K., F.M., A.M., P.R., B.R., R.Smith., M.S. and R.W. are ZTF builders. All authors contributed to edits to the manuscript. The authors declare no competing interests. Peer review information: Nature Astronomy thanks the anonymous reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
Errata:Ahumada, T., Singer, L.P., Anand, S. et al. Author Correction: Discovery and confirmation of the shortest gamma-ray burst from a collapsar. Nat Astron (2021).
Group:Astronomy Department, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC), Zwicky Transient Facility
Funding AgencyGrant Number
ZTF partner institutionsUNSPECIFIED
Severo OchoaSEV-2017-0709
Heising-Simons Foundation12540303
Science Foundation, Ireland17/CDA/4723
Irish Research CouncilGOIPG/2019/2033
G.R.E.A.T research environmentUNSPECIFIED
Wenner-Gren FoundationsUNSPECIFIED
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)UNSPECIFIED
Large Synoptic Survey Telescope CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Brinson FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Science and Technology (India)DST/SJF/PSA-01/2014-15
Russian Foundation for Basic Research18-29-21030
Subject Keywords:High-energy astrophysics; Time-domain astronomy; Transient astrophysical phenomena
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210520-150014975
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Ahumada, T., Singer, L.P., Anand, S. et al. Discovery and confirmation of the shortest gamma-ray burst from a collapsar. Nat Astron 5, 917–927 (2021).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:109225
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:24 May 2021 14:57
Last Modified:17 Sep 2021 21:29

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