Probing Cosmic Dust of the Early Universe through High-Redshift Gamma-Ray Bursts
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We explore the extinction properties of the dust in the distant universe through the afterglows of high-redshifted gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) based on the "Drude" model which, unlike previous studies, does not require a prior assumption of template extinction laws. We select GRB 070802 at z ≈ 2.45 (which shows clear evidence for the 2175 Å extinction bump) and GRB 050904 at z ≈ 6.29, the second most distant GRB observed to date. We fit their afterglow spectra to determine the extinction of their host galaxies. We find that (1) their extinction curves differ substantially from that of the Milky Way and the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds (which were widely adopted as template extinction laws in the literature); (2) the 2175 Å extinction feature appears to be also present in GRB 050904 at z ≈ 6.29; and (3) there does not appear to be strong evidence for the dependence of dust extinction on redshifts. The inferred extinction curves are closely reproduced in terms of a mixture of amorphous silicate and graphite, both of which are expected supernova condensates and have been identified in primitive meteorites as presolar grains originating from supernovae (which are considered as the main source of dust at high-z).
S. L. Liang and Aigen Li 2009 ApJ 690 L56