If gamma ray bursts are at cosmological distances-as suggested by their isotropic distribution on the sky and by their number-intensity relation-then the burst profiles will be stretched in time, by an amount proportional to the redshift, 1 + Z. We have tested data from the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory's (CGRO's) Burst and Transient Source Experiment (BATSE) for such time dilation. Out of 590 bursts observed by BATSE, 131 bursts were analyzed; bursts with durations shorter than 1.5 s were excluded. We used three tests to compare the timescales of bright and dim bursts, the latter, on average, being more distant than the former. Our measures of timescale are constructed to avoid selection effects arising from intensity differences by rescaling all bursts to fiducial levels of peak intensity and noise bias. (1) We found that the total rescaled count above background for the dim burst ensemble is approximately twice that for the brightest bursts-translating into longer durations for the dim bursts. (2) Wavelet-transform decompositions of the burst profiles confirmed that this dilation operates over a broad range of timescales. (3) Structure on the shortest timescales was examined using a procedure which aligns the highest peaks of profiles from which the noise has been optimally removed using a wavelet threshold technique. In all three tests, the dim bursts are stretched by a factor of approximately 2 relative to the bright ones, over seven octaves of timescale. We calibrated the measurements by dilating synthetic bursts that approximate the temporal characteristics of bright BATSE bursts. Results are consistent with bursts at BATSE's peak-flux completeness limit being at cosmological distances corresponding to Z approximately equal to 1, and thus with independent cosmological interpretations of the BATSE number-intensity relation. Alternative explanations of our results, arising from the nature of physical processes in bursts, are still possible.
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X); 424; 2; p. 540-545