1,440 research outputs found

    The Gamma Ray Burst Luminosity Function in the Light of the Swift 2-year Data

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    We compute the luminosity function (LF) and the formation rate of long gamma ray bursts (GRBs) by fitting the observed differential peak flux distribution obtained by the BATSE satellite in three different scenarios: i) GRBs follow the cosmic star formation and their LF is constant in time; ii) GRBs follow the cosmic star formation but the LF varies with redshift; iii) GRBs form preferentially in low-metallicity environments. We find that the differential peak flux number counts obtained by BATSE and by Swift can be reproduced using the same LF and GRB formation rate, indicating that the two satellites are observing the same GRB population. We then check the resulting redshift distributions in the light of Swift 2-year data, focusing in particular on the relatively large sample of GRBs detected at z>2.5. We show that models in which GRBs trace the cosmic star formation and are described by a constant LF are ruled out by the number of high-z Swift detections. This conclusion does not depend on the redshift distribution of bursts that lack of optical identification, nor on the existence of a decline in star formation rate at z>2, nor on the adopted faint-end of the GRB LF. Swift observations can be explained by assuming that the LF varies with redshift and/or that GRB formation is limited to low-metallicity environments.Comment: 7 pages, 3 figures, ApJ Letter in pres

    On the detection of very high redshift Gamma Ray Bursts with Swift

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    We compute the probability to detect long Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) at z>5 with Swift, assuming that GRBs form preferentially in low-metallicity environments. The model fits well both the observed BATSE and Swift GRB differential peak flux distribution and is consistent with the number of z>2.5 detections in the 2-year Swift data. We find that the probability to observe a burst at z>5 becomes larger than 10% for photon fluxes P<1 ph s^{-1} cm^{-2}, consistent with the number of confirmed detections. The corresponding fraction of z>5 bursts in the Swift catalog is ~10%-30% depending on the adopted metallicity threshold for GRB formation. We propose to use the computed probability as a tool to identify high redshift GRBs. By jointly considering promptly-available information provided by Swift and model results, we can select reliable z>5 candidates in a few hours from the BAT detection. We test the procedure against last year Swift data: only three bursts match all our requirements, two being confirmed at z>5. Other three possible candidates are picked up by slightly relaxing the adopted criteria. No low-z interloper is found among the six candidates.Comment: 5 pages, 2 figures, MNRAS in pres

    High-Redshift Superclustering of QSO Absorption Line Systems on 100 Mpc Scales

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    We have analyzed the clustering of C IV absorption line systems in an extensive new catalog of heavy element QSO absorbers. The catalog permits exploration of clustering over a large range in both scale (from about 1 to over 300 Mpc) and redshift (z from 1.2 to 4.5). We find significant evidence (5.0 sigma) that C IV absorbers are clustered on comoving scales of 100 Mpc and less --- similar to the size of voids and walls found in galaxy redshift surveys of the local universe --- with a mean correlation function ξ=0.42±0.10\xi = 0.42 \pm 0.10 over these scales. We find, on these scales, that the mean correlation function at low (z=1.7), medium (z=2.4), and high redshift (z=3.0) is ξ=0.40±0.17\xi=0.40 \pm 0.17, 0.32±0.140.32 \pm 0.14, and 0.72±0.250.72 \pm 0.25, respectively. Thus, the superclustering is present even at high redshift; furthermore, it does not appear that the superclustering scale, in comoving coordinates, has changed significantly since then. We find 7 QSOs with rich groups of absorbers (potential superclusters) that account for a significant portion of the clustering signal, with 2 at redshift z2.8z\sim 2.8. We find that the superclustering is just as evident if we take q0=0.1q_0=0.1 instead of 0.5; however, the inferred scale of clustering is then 240 Mpc , which is larger than the largest scales of clustering known at present. This discrepancy may be indicative of a larger value of q0q_0, and hence Ω0\Omega_0. The evolution of the correlation function on 50 Mpc scales is consistent with that expected in cosmologies with density parameter ranging from Ω0=\Omega_0 = 0.1 to 1. Finally, we find no evidence for clustering on scales greater than 100 Mpc (q0=0.5q_0=0.5) or 240 Mpc (q0=0.1q_0=0.1).Comment: 16 LaTeX pages with 3 encapsulated Postscript figures included, uses AASTeX (v. 4.0) available at ftp://ftp.aas.org/pubs/ , to appear in The Astrophysical Journal Letter

    The luminosity function of cluster galaxies. II. Data reduction procedures applied to the cluster Abell 496

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    We initiated a large project aimed to estimate the Luminosity Function of galaxies in clusters and to evaluate its relation to cluster morphology. With this paper we deem necessary to outline the general procedures of the data reduction and details of the data analysis. The cluster sample includes the brightest southern ROSAT all-sky survey clusters with z < 0.1. These have been observed in three colours g, r, i, and mapped up to a few core radii using a mosaic of CCD frames. E/S0 galaxies in the cluster core are singled out both by morphology (for the brightest galaxies), and by colour. The details of the data reduction procedure are illustrated via the analysis of the cluster Abell 496, which has been used as a pilot cluster for the whole program. The related photometric catalogue consists of 2355 objects. The limiting magnitudes (the reference Surface Brightness is given in parenthesis) in the various colours are respectively g(25.5) = 24.14, r(25.5) = 24.46, i(25.0) = 23.75$. These correspond to the limiting absolute magnitudes -12.28, -11.96 and -12.67 (H_0=50 km/sec/Mpc).Comment: 17 pages, 19 ps figures, aa.cl

    The X-ray light curve of Gamma-ray bursts: clues to the central engine

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    We present the analysis of a large sample of gamma-ray burst (GRB) X-ray light curves in the rest frame to characterise their intrinsic properties in the context of different theoretical scenarios. We determine the morphology, time scales, and energetics of 64 long GRBs observed by \emph{Swift}/XRT \emph{without} flaring activity. We furthermore provide a one-to-one comparison to the properties of GRBs \emph{with} X-ray flares. We find that the steep decay morphology and its connection with X-ray flares favour a scenario in which a central engine origin. We show that this scenario can also account for the shallow decay phase, provided that the GRB progenitor star has a self-similar structure with a constant envelope-to-core mass ratio 0.020.03\sim 0.02-0.03. However, difficulties arise for very long duration (tp104t_p\gtrsim10^4 s) shallow phases. Alternatively, a spinning-down magnetar whose emitted power refreshes the forward shock can quantitatively account for the shallow decay properties. In particular we demonstrate that this model can account for the plateau luminosity vs. end time anticorrelation.Comment: 12 pages, 8 figures, accepted for publication in A&

    A detector of gravitational waves based on coupled microwave cavities

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    Since 1978 superconducting coupled cavities have been proposed as sensitive detector of gravitational waves. The interaction of the gravitational wave with the cavity walls, and the resulting motion, induces the transition of some electromagnetic energy from an initially excited cavity mode to an empty one. The energy transfer is maximum when the frequency of the wave is equal to the frequency difference of the two cavity modes. In this paper the basic principles of the detector are discussed. The interaction of a gravitational wave with the cavity walls is studied in the proper reference frame of the detector, and the coupling between two electromagnetic normal modes induced by the wall motion is analyzed in detail. Noise sources are also considered; in particular the noise coming from the brownian motion of the cavity walls is analyzed. Some ideas for the developement of a realistic detector of gravitational waves are discussed; the outline of a possible detector design and its expected sensitivity are also shown.Comment: 29 pages, 12 eps figures. Typeset by REVTe
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