An optical spectrum of the afterglow of a γ-ray burst at a redshift of z = 6.295

N. Kawai, G. Kosugi, K. Aoki, T. Yamada, T. Totani, K. Ohta, M. Iye, T. Hattori, W. Aoki, H. Furusawa, K. Hurley, K. S. Kawabata, N. Kobayashi, Y. Komiyama, Y. Mizumoto, K. Nomoto, J. Noumaru, R. Ogasawara, R. Sato, K. SekiguchiY. Shirasaki, M. Suzuki, T. Takata, T. Tamagawa, H. Terada, J. Watanabe, Y. Yatsu, A. Yoshida

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267 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The prompt γ-ray emission from γ-ray bursts (GRBs) should be detectable out to distances of z > 10 (ref. 1), and should therefore provide an excellent probe of the evolution of cosmic star formation, reionization of the intergalactic medium, and the metal enrichment history of the Universe 1-4. Hitherto, the highest measured redshift for a GRB has been z = 4.50 (ref. 5). Here we report the optical spectrum of the afterglow of GRB 050904 obtained 3.4 days after the burst; the spectrum shows a clear continuum at the long-wavelength end of the spectrum with a sharp cut-off at around 9,000 Å due to Lyman α absorption at z ≈ 6.3 (with a damping wing). A system of absorption lines of heavy elements at z = 6.295 ± 0.002 was also detected, yielding the precise measurement of the redshift. The Si II fine-structure lines suggest a dense, metal-enriched environment around the progenitor of the GRB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-186
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume440
Issue number7081
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Mar 9

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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