GRB 160410a: The first chemical study of the interstellar medium of a short GRB

J. F. Agüí Fernández, C. C. Thöne, D. A. Kann, A. de Ugarte Postigo, J. Selsing, P. Schady, R. M. Yates, J. Greiner, S. R. Oates, D. Malesani, D. Xu, A. Klotz, S. Campana, A. Rossi, D. A. Perley, M. Blazek, P. D'Avanzo, A. Giunta, D. Hartmann, K. E. HeintzP. Jakobsson, C. Kirkpatrick IV C., C. Kouveliotou, A. Melandri, G. Pugliese, R. Salvaterra, R. L. C. Starling, N. R. Tanvir, S. D. Vergani, K. Wiersema

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Short gamma-ray bursts (SGRBs) are produced by the coalescence of compact binary systems which are remnants of massive stars. GRB 160410A is classified as a short-duration GRB with extended emission and is currently the farthest SGRB with a redshift determined from an afterglow spectrum and also one of the brightest SGRBs to date. The fast reaction to the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory alert allowed us to obtain a spectrum of the afterglow using the X-shooter spectrograph at the Very Large Telescope (VLT). The spectrum shows several absorption features at a redshift of z = 1.7177, in addition, we detect two intervening systems at z = 1.581 and z = 1.444. The spectrum shows Ly α in absorption with a column density of log (N(H I)/cm 2) = 21.2 ± 0.2 which, together with Fe II, C II, Si II, Al II, and O I, allow us to perform the first study of chemical abundances in a SGRB host galaxy. We determine a metallicity of [X/H] = −2.3 ± 0.2 for Fe II and −2.5 ± 0.2 for Si II and no dust depletion. We also find no evidence for extinction in the afterglow spectral energy distribution modelling. The environment has a low degree of ionization and the C IV and Si IV lines are completely absent. We do not detect an underlying host galaxy down to deep limits. Additionally, we compare GRB 160410A to GRB 201221D, another high-z short GRB that shows absorption lines at z = 1.045 and an underlying massive host galaxy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-636
Number of pages24
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • astro-ph.HE
  • astro-ph.GA
  • gamma-ray burst: individual: GRB 201221D
  • neutron star mergers
  • galaxies: ISM
  • gamma-ray burst: individual: GRB 160410A


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