Linking short gamma-ray bursts and their host galaxies

James E. Rhoads

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The luminosities of short-duration gamma-ray burst (SGRB) host galaxies appear to be anticorrelated with both the isotropic equivalent gamma-ray energy and the gamma-ray luminosity of the explosions, based on a sample of 12 bursts with host galaxy redshifts and photometry. The correlation does depend on the correct identification of the GRB 050509b host, but is otherwise robust. In particular, simple observational selection effects only strengthen the statistical significance of this correlation, from ∼95% to ∼99%. The correlation may indicate that there are two physically distinct groups of SGRBs. If so, it requires that the more luminous class of explosions be associated with the younger class of progenitors. Alternatively, it could be due to a continuous distribution of burst and host properties, in which case it could be used as a crude SGRB distance indicator. As one possible explanation, we find that the effect of binary neutron star masses on inspiral time and energy reservoir produces a correlation of the appropriate sign, but does not automatically reproduce the correlation slope or the full range of SGRB energy scales. If confirmed by larger samples, this correlation will provide a valuable new constraint on SGRB progenitor models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)664-669
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Gamma rays: bursts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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