Astrophys. J., 817, 8 (2016/January-3)
The Swift GRB host galaxy legacy survey. II. Rest-frame Near-IR luminosity distribution and evidence for a near-solar metallicity threshold.
PERLEY D.A., TANVIR N.R., HJORTH J., LASKAR T., BERGER E., CHARY R., DE UGARTE POSTIGO A., FYNBO J.P.U., KRUHLER T., LEVAN A.J., MICHALOWSKI M.J. and SCHULZE S.
Abstract (from CDS):
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.
galaxies: evolution - galaxies: high-redshift - galaxies: photometry - galaxies: star formation - gamma-ray burst: general
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