Over the past decade, our physical understanding of γ-ray bursts (GRBs) has progressed rapidly, thanks to the discovery and observation of their long-lived afterglow emission. Long-duration (≳2 s) GRBs are associated with the explosive deaths of massive stars (‘collapsars’, ref. 1), which produce accompanying supernovae2,3,4,5; the short-duration (≲2 s) GRBs have a different origin, which has been argued to be the merger of two compact objects6,7,8,9. Here we report optical observations of GRB 060614 (duration ∼100 s, ref. 10) that rule out the presence of an associated supernova. This would seem to require a new explosive process: either a massive collapsar that powers a GRB without any associated supernova, or a new type of ‘engine’, as long-lived as the collapsar but without a massive star. We also show that the properties of the host galaxy (redshift z = 0.125) distinguish it from other long-duration GRB hosts and suggest that an entirely new type of GRB progenitor may be required.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution
Open Access articles citing this article.
Nature Open Access 07 December 2022
Nature Communications Open Access 23 September 2016
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
MacFadyen, A. I., Woosley, S. E. & Heger, A. Supernovae, jets, and collapsars. Astrophys. J. 550, 410–425 (2001)
Galama, T. J. et al. An unusual supernova in the error box of the γ-ray burst of 25 April 1998. Nature 395, 670–672 (1998)
Stanek, K. Z. et al. Spectroscopic discovery of the supernova 2003dh associated with GRB 030329. Astrophys. J. 591, L17–L20 (2003)
Hjorth, J. et al. A very energetic supernova associated with the γ-ray burst of 29 March 2003. Nature 423, 847–850 (2003)
Malesani, D. et al. SN 2003lw and GRB 031203: A bright supernova for a faint gamma-ray burst. Astrophys. J. 609, L5–L8 (2004)
Gehrels, N. et al. A short γ-ray burst apparently associated with an elliptical galaxy at redshift z = 0.225. Nature 437, 851–854 (2005)
Bloom, J. S. et al. Closing in on a short-hard burst progenitor: Constraints from early-time optical imaging and spectroscopy of a possible host galaxy of GRB 050509b. Astrophys. J. 638, 354–368 (2006)
Berger, E. et al. The afterglow and elliptical host galaxy of the short γ-ray burst GRB 050724. Nature 438, 988–990 (2005)
Hjorth, J. et al. The optical afterglow of the short γ-ray burst GRB 050709. Nature 437, 859–861 (2005)
Parsons, A. M. et al. GRB 060614: Swift detection of a burst with a bright optical and X-ray counterpart. GCN Circ. 5252, (2006)
Gehrels, N. et al. A new γ-ray burst classification scheme from GRB 060614. Nature doi:10.1038/nature05376 (this issue).
Golenetskii, S. et al. Konus-wind observation of GRB 060614. GCN Circ. 5264, (2006)
Pian, E. et al. An optical supernova associated with the X-ray flash XRF 060218. Nature 442, 1011–1013 (2006)
Fynbo, J. P. U. et al. No supernovae associated with two long-duration γ-ray bursts. Nature doi:10.1038/nature05375 (this issue).
Modjaz, M. et al. Early-time photometry and spectroscopy of the fast evolving SN 2006aj associated with GRB 060218. Astrophys. J. 645, L21–L24 (2006)
Della Valle, M. et al. An enigmatic long-lasting γ-ray burst not accompanied by a bright supernova. Nature doi:10.1038/nature05374 (this issue).
Pastorello, A. et al. Low-luminosity type II supernovae: spectroscopic and photometric evolution. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 347, 74–94 (2004)
Soderberg, A. M. et al. An HST study of the supernovae accompanying GRB 040924 and GRB 041006. Astrophys. J. 636, 391–399 (2006)
Christensen, L., Hjorth, J. & Gorosabel, J. UV star-formation rates of GRB host galaxies. Astron. Astrophys. 425, 913–926 (2004)
Fruchter, A. S. et al. Long γ-ray bursts and core-collapse supernovae have different environments. Nature 441, 463–468 (2006)
Zeh, A., Klose, S. & Hartmann, D. H. A systematic analysis of supernova light in gamma-ray burst afterglows. Astrophys. J. 609, 952–961 (2004)
Fox, D. B. et al. The afterglow of GRB 050709 and the nature of the short-hard γ-ray bursts. Nature 437, 845–850 (2005)
Narayan, R., Piran, T. & Kumar, P. Accretion models of gamma-ray bursts. Astrophys. J. 557, 949–957 (2001)
French, J., Melady, G., Hanlon, L., Jelinek, M. & Kubanek, P. GRB060614: Watcher observation. GCN Circ. 5257, (2006)
Gal-Yam, A., Ofek, E. O. & Shemmer, O. Supernova 2002ap: the first month. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 332, L73–L77 (2002)
Foley, R. J. et al. Optical photometry and spectroscopy of the SN 1998bw-like type Ic supernova 2002ap. Publ. Astron. Soc. Pacif. 115, 1220–1235 (2003)
Gal-Yam, A. et al. On the progenitor of SN 2005gl and the nature of type IIn supernovae. Astrophys. J. (in the press); preprint at 〈http://arxiv.org/astro-ph/0608029〉 (2006)
Gal-Yam, A., Maoz, D. & Sharon, K. Supernovae in deep Hubble Space Telescope galaxy cluster fields: cluster rates and field counts. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 332, 37–48 (2002)
Ofek, E. O. et al. GRB 060505: A possible short-duration gamma-ray burst in a star-forming region at a redshift of z=0.09. Astrophys. J. (submitted).
A.G. and E.B. acknowledge support by NASA through Hubble Fellowships. S.R.K. is supported by NSF and NASA. The HST campaign combined resources from our approved programmes (principal investigators S.R.K. and D.B.F.).
Reprints and permissions information is available at www.nature.com/reprints. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
This file contains Supplementary Notes describing the association of GRB 060614 with the proposed z=0.125 host galaxy and host properties and GRB environment; Supplementary Figures 1-3 with legends and Supplementary Data.
About this article
Cite this article
Gal-Yam, A., Fox, D., Price, P. et al. A novel explosive process is required for the γ-ray burst GRB 060614. Nature 444, 1053–1055 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature05373
This article is cited by
Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy (2022)
Nature Astronomy (2021)
Astrophysics and Space Science (2020)