A kilonova following a long-duration gamma-ray burst at 350 Mpc

Jillian C. Rastinejad, Benjamin P. Gompertz, Andrew J. Levan, Wen-fai Fong, Matt Nicholl, Gavin P. Lamb, Daniele B. Malesani, Anya E. Nugent, Samantha R. Oates, Nial R. Tanvir, Antonio de Ugarte Postigo, Charles D. Kilpatrick, Christopher J. Moore, Brian D. Metzger, Maria Edvige Ravasio, Andrea Rossi, Genevieve Schroeder, Jacob Jencson, David J. Sand, Nathan SmithJosé Feliciano Agüi Fernández, Edo Berger, Peter K. Blanchard, Ryan Chornock, Bethany E. Cobb, Massimiliano De Pasquale, Johan P. U. Fynbo, Luca Izzo, D. Alexander Kann, Tanmoy Laskar, Ester Marini, Kerry Paterson, Alicia Rouco Escorial, Huei M. Sears, Christina C. Thöne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are divided into two populations1,2; long GRBs that derive from the core collapse of massive stars (for example, ref. 3) and short GRBs that form in the merger of two compact objects4,5. Although it is common to divide the two populations at a gamma-ray duration of 2 s, classification based on duration does not always map to the progenitor. Notably, GRBs with short (≲2 s) spikes of prompt gamma-ray emission followed by prolonged, spectrally softer extended emission (EE-SGRBs) have been suggested to arise from compact object mergers6,7,8. Compact object mergers are of great astrophysical importance as the only confirmed site of rapid neutron capture (r-process) nucleosynthesis, observed in the form of so-called kilonovae9,10,11,12,13,14. Here we report the discovery of a possible kilonova associated with the nearby (350 Mpc), minute-duration GRB 211211A. The kilonova implies that the progenitor is a compact object merger, suggesting that GRBs with long, complex light curves can be spawned from merger events. The kilonova of GRB 211211A has a similar luminosity, duration and colour to that which accompanied the gravitational wave (GW)-detected binary neutron star (BNS) merger GW170817 (ref. 4). Further searches for GW signals coincident with long GRBs are a promising route for future multi-messenger astronomy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-227
Number of pages5
JournalNature
Volume612
Issue number7939
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 07 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena

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