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The Swift GRB Host Galaxy Legacy Survey. II. Rest-Frame Near-IR Luminosity Distribution and Evidence for a Near-Solar Metallicity Threshold

Perley, DA and Tanvir, NR and Hjorth, J and Laskar, T and Berger, E and Chary, R and Postigo, ADU and Fynbo, JPU and Krühler, T and Levan, AJ and Michałowski, MJ and Schulze, S (2016) The Swift GRB Host Galaxy Legacy Survey. II. Rest-Frame Near-IR Luminosity Distribution and Evidence for a Near-Solar Metallicity Threshold. The Astrophysical Journal, 817 (1). ISSN 1538-4357

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Abstract

The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..We present rest-frame near-IR (NIR) luminosities and stellar masses for a large and uniformly selected population of gamma-ray burst (GRB) host galaxies using deep Spitzer Space Telescope imaging of 119 targets from the Swift GRB Host Galaxy Legacy Survey spanning 0.03 < z < 6.3, and we determine the effects of galaxy evolution and chemical enrichment on the mass distribution of the GRB host population across cosmic history. We find a rapid increase in the characteristic NIR host luminosity between z ∼ 0.5 and z ∼ 1.5, but little variation between z ∼ 1.5 and z ∼ 5. Dust-obscured GRBs dominate the massive host population but are only rarely seen associated with low-mass hosts, indicating that massive star-forming galaxies are universally and (to some extent) homogeneously dusty at high redshift while low-mass star-forming galaxies retain little dust in their interstellar medium. Comparing our luminosity distributions with field surveys and measurements of the high-z mass-metallicity relation, our results have good consistency with a model in which the GRB rate per unit star formation is constant in galaxies with gas-phase metallicity below approximately the solar value but heavily suppressed in more metal-rich environments. This model also naturally explains the previously reported "excess" in the GRB rate beyond z 2; metals stifle GRB production in most galaxies at z < 1.5 but have only minor impact at higher redshifts. The metallicity threshold we infer is much higher than predicted by single-star models and favors a binary progenitor. Our observations also constrain the fraction of cosmic star formation in low-mass galaxies undetectable to Spitzer to be small at z < 4. © 2016.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0201 Astronomical And Space Sciences, 0305 Organic Chemistry, 0306 Physical Chemistry (Incl. Structural)
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: American Astronomical Society
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2017 08:36
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2017 05:37
DOI or Identification number: 10.3847/0004-637X/817/1/8
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/5611

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