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  • Letter
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No supernovae associated with two long-duration γ-ray bursts


It is now accepted that long-duration γ-ray bursts (GRBs) are produced during the collapse of a massive star1,2. The standard ‘collapsar’ model3 predicts that a broad-lined and luminous type Ic core-collapse supernova accompanies every long-duration GRB4. This association has been confirmed in observations of several nearby GRBs5–9. Here we report that GRB 060505 (ref. 10) and GRB 060614 (ref. 11) were not accompanied by supernova emission down to limits hundreds of times fainter than the archetypal supernova SN 1998bw that accompanied GRB 980425, and fainter than any type Ic supernova ever observed12. Multi-band observations of the early afterglows, as well as spectroscopy of the host galaxies, exclude the possibility of significant dust obscuration and show that the bursts originated in actively star-forming regions. The absence of a supernova to such deep limits is qualitatively different from all previous nearby long-duration GRBs and suggests a new phenomenological type of massive stellar death.

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Figure 1: No supernova associated with two nearby γ-ray bursts.

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We acknowledge benefits from collaboration within the EU FP5 Research Training Network “Gamma-Ray Bursts: An Enigma and a Tool”. The Dark Cosmology Centre is funded by the DNRF. The observations presented here have been obtained from the ESO La Silla-Paranal observatory and from the Gemini Observatory. The Gemini Observatory is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the NSF on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the National Science Foundation (USA), the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (UK), the National Research Council (Canada), CONICYT (Chile), the Australian Research Council (Australia), CNPq (Brazil), and CONICET (Argentina).

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Correspondence to Johan P. U. Fynbo.

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Fynbo, J., Watson, D., Thöne, C. et al. No supernovae associated with two long-duration γ-ray bursts. Nature 444, 1047–1049 (2006).

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