Properties of a gamma-ray burst host galaxy AT z ∼ 5

P. A. Price, A. Songaila, L. L. Cowie, J. Bell Burnell, E. Berger, A. Cucchiara, D. B. Fox, I. Hook, S. R. Kulkarni, B. Penprase, K. C. Roth, B. Schmidt

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30 Scopus citations


We describe the properties of the host galaxy of the gamma-ray burst GRB 060510B based on a spectrum of the burst afterglow obtained with the Gemini North 8 m telescope. The galaxy lies at a redshift of z = 4.941, making it the fourth highest spectroscopically identified burst host. However, it is the second highest redshift galaxy for which the quality of the spectrum permits a detailed metallicity analysis. The neutral hydrogen column density has a logarithmic value of 21.0-21.2 cm-2, and the weak metal lines of Ni, S, and Fe show that the metallicity is in excess of a tenth of solar, which is far above the metallicities in damped Lya absorbers at high redshift. The tightest constraint is from the Fe lines, which place [Fe/H] in excess of -0.8. We argue that the results suggest that metallicity bias could be a serious obstacle to inferring star formation from the GRB population, and we consider how future higher quality measurements could be used to resolve this issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L57-L60
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 II
StatePublished - Jul 10 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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