PI: Emily Levesque, University of Colorado at Boulder, Emily.Levesque@colorado.edu
Address: Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, 389 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
CoI: Edo Berger, Harvard University
Title: The Host Environments of Long-Duration Gamma-Ray Bursts
Abstract: Long-duration gamma-ray burst (LGRB) host galaxies potentially offer powerful probes of star formation and metallicity evolution in the early universe. Before LGRB hosts can be used in high-redshift galaxy research, it is critical to understand the nature of their environments and what fraction of the star-forming galaxy population LGRB hosts encompass. This requires robust knowledge of key fundamental properties of LGRB host ISM environments, including metallicity, stellar population age, and stellar masses. In recent years, we have begun investigating this phenomenon by conducting a rest-frame optical spectroscopic survey of LGRB hosts at z < 1. Our sample currently includes 12 host galaxies; we propose to further extend this survey to 6 new host galaxies during the 2011A semester. These data will be used for comparison with detailed stellar population synthesis models, as well as existing samples of normal star-forming galaxies at z < 1. The combination of this unprecedented sample size and detailed theoretical analyses will provide unparalleled insight into the nature of LGRB host galaxies, the evolution of their progenitors, and their relationship to the general galaxy population.
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