A new γ-ray burst classification scheme from GRB 060614

N. Gehrels, J. P. Norris, S. D. Barthelmy, J. Granot, Y. Kaneko, C. Kouveliotou, C. B. Markwardt, P. Mészáros, E. Nakar, J. A. Nousek, P. T. O'Brien, M. Page, D. M. Palmer, A. M. Parsons, P. W.A. Roming, T. Sakamoto, C. L. Sarazin, P. Schady, M. Stamatikos, S. E. Woosley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are known to come in two duration classes, separated at ∼2 s. Long-duration bursts originate from star-forming regions in galaxies, have accompanying supernovae when these are near enough to observe and are probably caused by massive-star collapsars. Recent observations show that short-duration bursts originate in regions within their host galaxies that have lower star-formation rates, consistent with binary neutron star or neutron star-black hole mergers. Moreover, although their hosts are predominantly nearby galaxies, no supernovae have been so far associated with short-duration GRBs. Here we report that the bright, nearby GRB 060614 does not fit into either class. Its ∼102-s duration groups it with long-duration GRBs, while its temporal lag and peak luminosity fall entirely within the short-duration GRB subclass. Moreover, very deep optical observations exclude an accompanying supernova, similar to short-duration GRBs. This combination of a long-duration event without an accompanying supernova poses a challenge to both the collapsar and the merging-neutron-star interpretations and opens the door to a new GRB classification scheme that straddles both long- and short-duration bursts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1044-1046
Number of pages3
Issue number7122
StatePublished - 21 Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


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