Probing the Environments of Short Gamma-Ray Bursts: Host Galaxy Demographics

Author: Wen-Fai Fong

Abstract: While the progenitor model of long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) is widely accepted, the progenitors of short GRBs are not well understood. With potential gravitational wave detections a few years out, observations of short GRB galactic environments currently provide the most direct probe into the nature of their progenitors. Here, I present the most updated demographics of short GRB host galaxies in terms of morphology, burst offsets relative to their hosts' centers, and the location of the bursts relative to the distribution of their hosts' light. These observations provide key information about the types of stellar populations from which these events originate. Lastly, I analyze short GRBs as the prime candidates for targeted gravitational wave searches with Advanced LIGO.