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As part of the HST/STIS GRB host survey program we present the detection of three faint gamma-ray burst (GRB) host galaxies based on an accurate localisation using ground-based data of the optical afterglows (OAs). A common property of these three hosts is their extreme faintness. The location at which GRBs occur with respect to their host galaxies and surrounding environments are robust indicators of the nature of GRB progenitors. The bursts studied here are among the four most extreme outliers, in terms of relative distance from the host center, in the recent comprehensive study of Bloom et al. (2002). We obtain a revised and much higher probability that the galaxies identified as hosts indeed are related to the GRBs (P(nchance) = 0.69, following Bloom et al. 2002), thereby strengthening the conclusion that GRBs are preferentially located in star-forming regions in their hosts. Apart from being faint, the three hosts consist of multiple structures, indicative of merging and active star-formation. For one of the hosts, GRB 980329, we estimate a photometric redshift of z ∼ 3.5.

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Astronomy and Astrophysics

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