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Published April 14, 2003 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Radio, Sub-mm, and X-Ray Studies of Gamma-Ray Burst Host Galaxies

Abstract

The study of gamma-ray burst (GRB) host galaxies in the radio, sub-mm, and X-ray wavelength regimes began only recently, in contrast to optical studies. This is mainly due to the long timescale on which the radio afterglow emission decays, and to the intrinsic faintness of radio emission from star-forming galaxies at z ~ 1, as well as source confusion in sub-mm observations; X-ray observations of GRB hosts have simply not been attempted yet. Despite these difficulties, we have recently made the first detections of radio and sub-mm emission from the host galaxies of GRB 980703 and GRB 010222, respectively, using the VLA and the SCUBA instrument on JCMT. In both cases we find that the inferred star formation rates (~ 500 M_☉) and bolometric luminosities (few × 10^(12) L_☉) indicate that these galaxies are possibly analogous to the local population of Ultra-Luminous Infrared Galaxies (ULIRGs) undergoing a starburst. However, there is a modest probability that the observed emission is due to AGN activity rather than star formation, thus requiring observations with Chandra or XMM. The sample of GRB hosts offers a number of unique advantages to the broader question of the evolution of galaxies and star formation from high redshift to the present time since: (i) GRBs trace massive stars, (ii) are detectable to high redshifts, and (iii) have immense dust penetrating power. Therefore, radio/sub-mm/X-ray observations of GRB hosts can potentially provide crucial information both on the nature of the GRB host galaxies, and on the history of star formation.

Additional Information

© 2003 American Institute of Physics. Issue Date: 14 April 2003.

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