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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-07-18
    Description: When massive stars exhaust their fuel they collapse and often produce the extraordinarily bright explosions known as core-collapse supernovae. Recently, it has become apparent that stellar collapse can power the even more brilliant relativistic explosions known as long-duration gamma-ray bursts. In some cases, a gamma-ray burst and a supernova have been observed from the same event. One would thus expect that gamma-ray bursts and supernovae should be found in similar environments. Here we show that this expectation is wrong. Using Hubble Space Telescope imaging of the host galaxies of long-duration gamma-ray bursts and core-collapse supernovae, we demonstrate that while the distribution of the supernovae in their hosts traces the blue light of young stars, the gamma-ray bursts are much more concentrated on the very brightest regions of their hosts. Furthermore, the host galaxies of the gamma-ray bursts are significantly fainter and more irregular than the hosts of the supernovae. Together these results suggest that long-duration gamma-ray bursts are associated with the very most massive stars and may be restricted to galaxies of limited chemical evolution. Our results directly imply that long-duration gamma-ray bursts are relatively rare in galaxies such as our own Milky Way.
    Keywords: Astronomy
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