Radio constraints on heavily obscured star formation within dark gamma-ray burst host galaxies.
PERLEY D.A. and PERLEY R.A.
Abstract (from CDS):
Highly dust-obscured starbursting galaxies (submillimeter galaxies and their ilk) represent the most extreme sites of star formation in the distant universe and contribute significantly to overall cosmic star formation beyond z > 1.5. Some stars formed in these environments may also explode as gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and contribute to the population of "dark" bursts. Here we present Very Large Array wideband radio-continuum observations of 15 heavily dust-obscured Swift GRBs to search for radio synchrotron emission associated with intense star formation in their host galaxies. Most of these targets (11) are not detected. Of the remaining four objects, one detection is marginal, and for two others we cannot yet rule out the contribution of a long-lived radio afterglow. The final detection is secure, but indicates a star formation rate (SFR) roughly consistent with the dust-corrected UV-inferred value. Most galaxies hosting obscured GRBs are therefore not forming stars at extreme rates, and the amount of optical extinction seen along a GRB afterglow sightline does not clearly correlate with the likelihood that the host has a sufficiently high SFR to be radio-detectable. While some submillimeter galaxies do readily produce GRBs, these GRBs are often not heavily obscured–suggesting that the outer (modestly obscured) parts of these galaxies overproduce GRBs and the inner (heavily obscured) parts underproduce GRBs relative to their respective contributions to star formation, hinting at strong chemical or initial mass function gradients within these systems.
galaxies: starburst - gamma-ray burst: general - radio continuum: galaxies