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The unusual γ-ray burst GRB 101225A from a helium star/neutron star merger at redshift 0.33

Thöne, CC and De Ugarte Postigo, A and Fryer, CL and Page, KL and Gorosabel, J and Aloy, MA and Perley, DA and Kouveliotou, C and Janka, HT and Mimica, P and Racusin, JL and Krimm, H and Cummings, J and Oates, SR and Holland, ST and Siegel, MH and De Pasquale, M and Sonbas, E and Im, M and Park, WK and Kann, DA and Guziy, S and García, LH and Llorente, A and Bundy, K and Choi, C and Jeong, H and Korhonen, H and Kubànek, P and Lim, J and Moskvitin, A and Muñoz-Darias, T and Pak, S and Parrish, I (2011) The unusual γ-ray burst GRB 101225A from a helium star/neutron star merger at redshift 0.33. Nature, 480 (7375). pp. 72-74. ISSN 0028-0836

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Open Access URL: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1105.3015 (Accepted version)

Abstract

Long γ-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most dramatic examples of massive stellar deaths, often associated with supernovae. They release ultra-relativistic jets, which produce non-thermal emission through synchrotron radiation as they interact with the surrounding medium. Here we report observations of the unusual GRB 101225A. Its γ-ray emission was exceptionally long-lived and was followed by a bright X-ray transient with a hot thermal component and an unusual optical counterpart. During the first 10 days, the optical emission evolved as an expanding, cooling black body, after which an additional component, consistent with a faint supernova, emerged. We estimate its redshift to be z = 0.33 by fitting the spectral-energy distribution and light curve of the optical emission with a GRB-supernova template. Deep optical observations may have revealed a faint, unresolved host galaxy. Our proposed progenitor is a merger of a helium star with a neutron star that underwent a common envelope phase, expelling its hydrogen envelope. The resulting explosion created a GRB-like jet which became thermalized by interacting with the dense, previously ejected material, thus creating the observed black body, until finally the emission from the supernova dominated. An alternative explanation is a minor body falling onto a neutron star in the Galaxy. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: MD Multidisciplinary
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Q Science > QD Chemistry
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Date Deposited: 23 May 2017 11:57
Last Modified: 23 May 2017 11:57
DOI or Identification number: 10.1038/nature10611
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6521

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