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Preprint typeset using L ATEX style emulateapj v. 10/09/06 PROMPT OPTICAL EMISSION FROM RESIDUAL COLLISIONS IN GRB OUTFLOWS

By Zhuo Li and Eli Waxman

Abstract

The prompt γ-ray emission in γ-ray bursts is believed to be produced by internal shocks within a relativistic unsteady outflow. The recent detection of prompt optical emission accompanying the prompt γ-ray emission appears to be inconsistent with this model since the out flowing plasma is expected to be highly optically thick to optical photons. We show here that fluctuations in flow properties on short, ∼ 1 ms, time scale, which drive the γ-ray producing collisions at small radii, are expected to lead to ”residual ” collisions at much larger radii, where the optical depth to optical photons is low. The late residual collisions naturally account for the relatively bright optical emission. The apparent simultaneity of γ-ray and optical emission is due to the highly relativistic speed with which the plasma expands. Residual collisions may also account for the X-ray emission during the early ”steep decline ” phase, where the radius is inferred to be larger than the γ-ray emission radius. Finally, we point out that inverse-Compton emission from residual collisions at large radii is expected to contribute significantly to the emission at high energy, and may therefore ”smear ” the pair production spectral cut-off. Subject headings: acceleration of particles — magnetic fields — shock waves — gamma-rays: bursts 1

Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.315.6541
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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