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Swift detects a remarkable gamma-ray burst, GRB 060614, that introduces a new classification scheme

  • Gehrels, N.
  • Norris, J. P.
  • Mangano, V.
  • Barthelmy, S. D.
  • Burrows, D. N.
  • Granot, J.
  • Kaneko, Y.
  • Kouveliotou, C.
  • Markwardt, C. B.
  • Meszaros, P.
  • Nakar, E.
  • Nousek, J. A.
  • O'Brien, P. T.
  • Page, M.
  • Palmer, D. M.
  • Parsons, A. M.
  • Roming, P. W. A.
  • Sakamoto, T.
  • Sarazin, C. L.
  • Schady, P.
  • And 2 more
Published Article
Publication Date
Oct 20, 2006
Submission Date
Oct 20, 2006
DOI: 10.1038/nature05376
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Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) are known to come in two duration classes, separated at ~2 s. Long bursts originate from star forming regions in galaxies, have accompanying supernovae (SNe) when near enough to observe and are likely caused by massive-star collapsars. Recent observations show that short bursts originate in regions within their host galaxies with lower star formation rates consistent with binary neutron star (NS) or NS - black hole (BH) mergers. Moreover, although their hosts are predominantly nearby galaxies, no SNe have been so far associated with short GRBs. We report here on the bright, nearby GRB 060614 that does not fit in either class. Its ~102 s duration groups it with long GRBs, while its temporal lag and peak luminosity fall entirely within the short GRB subclass. Moreover, very deep optical observations exclude an accompanying supernova, similar to short GRBs. This combination of a long duration event without accompanying SN poses a challenge to both a collapsar and merging NS interpretation and opens the door on a new GRB classification scheme that straddles both long and short bursts.

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