Short GRB Host Galaxies. II. A Legacy Sample of Redshifts, Stellar Population Properties, and Implications for Their Neutron Star Merger Origins

Anya E. Nugent, Wen Fai Fong, Yuxin Dong, Joel Leja, Edo Berger, Michael Zevin, Ryan Chornock, Bethany E. Cobb, Luke Zoltan Kelley, Charles D. Kilpatrick, Andrew Levan, Raffaella Margutti, Kerry Paterson, Daniel Perley, Alicia Rouco Escorial, Nathan Smith, Nial Tanvir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We present the stellar population properties of 69 short gamma-ray burst (GRB) host galaxies, representing the largest uniformly modeled sample to date. Using the Prospector stellar population inference code, we jointly fit photometry and/or spectroscopy of each host galaxy. We find a population median redshift of z = 0.64 − 0.32 + 0.83 (68% confidence), including nine photometric redshifts at z ≳ 1. We further find a median mass-weighted age of t m = 0.8 − 0.53 + 2.71 Gyr, stellar mass of log(M */M ) = 9.69 − 0.65 + 0.75 , star formation rate of SFR = 1.44 − 1.35 + 9.37 M yr−1, stellar metallicity of log(Z */Z ) = − 0.38 − 0.42 + 0.44 , and dust attenuation of A V = 0.43 − 0.36 + 0.85 mag (68% confidence). Overall, the majority of short GRB hosts are star-forming (≈84%), with small fractions that are either transitioning (≈6%) or quiescent (≈10%); however, we observe a much larger fraction (≈40%) of quiescent and transitioning hosts at z ≲ 0.25, commensurate with galaxy evolution. We find that short GRB hosts populate the star-forming main sequence of normal field galaxies, but do not include as many high-mass galaxies as the general galaxy population, implying that their binary neutron star (BNS) merger progenitors are dependent on a combination of host star formation and stellar mass. The distribution of ages and redshifts implies a broad delay-time distribution, with a fast-merging channel at z > 1 and a decreased neutron star binary formation efficiency from high to low redshifts. If short GRB hosts are representative of BNS merger hosts within the horizon of current gravitational wave detectors, these results can inform future searches for electromagnetic counterparts. All of the data and modeling products are available on the Broadband Repository for Investigating Gamma-ray burst Host Traits website.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number57
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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