Short gamma-ray bursts from SGR giant flares and neutron star mergers: two populations are better than one
There is increasing evidence of a local population of short duration gamma-ray bursts (sGRB), but it remains to be seen whether this is a separate population to higher redshift bursts. Here we choose plausible luminosity functions (LFs) for both neutron star binary mergers and giant flares from soft gamma repeaters (SGR), and combined with theoretical and observed Galactic intrinsic rates we examine whether a single progenitor model can reproduce both the overall Burst and Transient Source Experiment (BATSE) sGRB number counts and a local population, or whether a dual progenitor population is required. Though there are large uncertainties in the intrinsic rates, we find that at least a bimodal LF consisting of lower and higher luminosity populations is required to reproduce both the overall BATSE sGRB number counts and a local burst distribution. Furthermore, the best-fitting parameters of the lower luminosity population agree well with the known properties of SGR giant flares, and the predicted numbers are sufficient to account for previous estimates of the local sGRB population.