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Astron. Astrophys. 323, 659-673 (1997)

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Gamma-ray bursts from radio-quiet quasars

N. Schartel 1, 2, H. Andernach 3, 4 and J. Greiner 5

1 ESA, IUE Observatory, P.O. Box 50727, E-28080 Madrid, Spain
2 Affiliated to the Astrophysics Division, Space Science Department, ESTEC
3 INSA; ESA IUE Observatory, P.O. Box 50727, E-28080 Madrid, Spain
4 Depto. de Astronomía, Univ. Guanajuato, Apdo. Postal 144, 36000 Guanajuato, Mexico
5 Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, D-85740 Garching, Germany

Received 17 July 1996 / Accepted 14 January 1997


We study positional coincidences between gamma-ray bursts in the BATSE 3B catalogue and quasars/AGN taken from the Véron-Cetty & Véron compilation. For most classes of AGN, for BL Lac objects and for radio-loud quasars, we find no excess coincidences above random expectation, and we give upper limits for their burst emission rate.

However, surprising evidence is found for a positional correlation between gamma-ray bursts and radio-quiet quasars. A total of 134 selected bursts with a position error radius [FORMULA] 1 [FORMULA] 8 and the nearest and intrinsically brightest radio-quiet quasars ([FORMULA] and [FORMULA]) have a probability of [FORMULA] 99.7% to be associated with each other. An analysis of a smaller sample of well-localized interplanetary network gamma-ray burst positions supports this result. This correlation strongly favours the cosmological origin of gamma-ray bursts and enables to estimate its distance scale. The average luminosity of those gamma-ray bursts which we associate directly with radio-quiet quasars is of the order of [FORMULA] erg (assuming isotropic emission).

Key words: gamma-rays: bursts – AGN: general – quasars: general

Send offprint requests to: N. Schartel

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: May 26, 1998