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Detection of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs)

  1. Sep 14, 2005 #1


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    Authors: Volker Bromm, Abraham Loeb
    Comments: 8 pages, 2 figures, submitted to ApJ

    Detection of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) from redshifts z > 7 would open a new window into the earliest epoch of cosmic star formation. We construct separate star formation histories at high redshifts for normal (Pop I and II) stars, and for predominantly massive (Pop III) stars. Based on these separate histories, we predict the GRB redshift distribution to be observed by the {\it Swift} mission. Regardless of whether Pop III progenitors are able to trigger GRBs, we find that a fraction 10% of all bursts detected by {\it Swift} will originate at z > 5. This baseline contribution is due to Pop I/II star formation which must have extended out to high redshifts in rare massive galaxies that were enriched by heavy elements earlier than the typical galaxies. In addition, we consider the possible contribution of Pop III progenitors to the observable GRB rate. Pop III stars are viable progenitors for long-duration GRBs which are triggered by the collapsar mechanism, as long as they can lose their outer envelope through mass transfer to a companion star in a close binary. We find that the likelihood of Pop III binaries to satisfy the conditions required by the collapsar mechanism could be enhanced significantly relative to Pop I/II binaries. If Pop III binaries are common, {\it Swift} will be first observatory to probe Pop III star formation at redshifts z
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