The afterglow of GRB 050709 and the nature of the short-hard γ-ray bursts

D. B. Fox, D. A. Frail*, P. A. Price, S. R. Kulkarni, E. Berger, T. Piran, A. M. Soderberg, S. B. Cenko, P. B. Cameron, A. Gal-Yam, M. M. Kasliwal, D. S. Moon, F. A. Harrison, E. Nakar, B. P. Schmidt, B. Penprase, R. A. Chevalier, P. Kumar, K. Roth, D. WatsonB. L. Lee, S. Shectman, M. M. Phillips, M. Roth, P. J. McCarthy, M. Rauch, L. Cowie, B. A. Peterson, J. Rich, N. Kawai, K. Aoki, G. Kosugi, T. Totani, H. S. Park, A. MacFadyen, K. C. Hurley

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    465 Citations (Scopus)


    The final chapter in the long-standing mystery of the γ-ray bursts (GRBs) centres on the origin of the short-hard class of bursts, which are suspected on theoretical grounds to result from the coalescence of neutron-star or black-hole binary systems. Numerous searches for the afterglows of short-hard bursts have been made, galvanized by the revolution in our understanding of long-duration GRBs that followed the discovery in 1997 of their broadband (X-ray, optical and radio) afterglow emission. Here we present the discovery of the X-ray afterglow of a short-hard burst, GRB 050709, whose accurate position allows us to associate it unambiguously with a star-forming galaxy at redshift z = 0.160, and whose optical lightcurve definitively excludes a supernova association. Together with results from three other recent short-hard bursts, this suggests that short-hard bursts release much less energy than the long-duration GRBs. Models requiring young stellar populations, such as magnetars and collapsars, are ruled out, while coalescing degenerate binaries remain the most promising progenitor candidates.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)845-850
    Number of pages6
    Issue number7060
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2005


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