1,219 research outputs found

    Outliers to the Isotropic Energy - Peak Energy Relation in GRBs

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    The peak energy - isotropic energy (EpEi) relation is among the most intriguing recent discoveries concerning GRBs. It can have numerous implications on our understanding of the emission mechanism of the bursts and on the application of GRBs for cosmological studies. However, this relation was verified only for a small sample of bursts with measured redshifts. We propose here a test whether a burst with an unknown redshift can potentially satisfy the EpEi relation. Applying this test to a large sample of BATSE bursts we find that a significant fraction of those bursts cannot satisfy this relation. Our test is sensitive only to dim and hard bursts and therefore this relation might still hold as an inequality (i.e. there are no intrinsically bright and soft bursts). We conclude that the observed relation seen in the sample of bursts with a known redshift might be influenced by observational biases and from the inability to locate and well localize hard and weak bursts that have only a small number of photons. In particular we point out that the threshold for detection, localization and redshift measurement is essentially higher than the threshold for detection alone. We predict that Swift will detect some hard and weak bursts that would be outliers to the EpEi relation. However, we cannot quantify this prediction. We stress the importance of understanding the detection-localization-redshift threshold for the coming Swift detections

    Early GRB afterglow from a reverse shock as a tracer of the prompt gamma-ray light curve

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    We discuss the optical and radio early afterglow emission of the reverse shock that crosses a baryonic ejecta as it interacts with the external interstellar medium (ISM). We show that the peak of the optical flash divides the light curve of the reverse shock into two distinctive phases. The emission after the peak depends weakly on the initial conditions of the ejecta and therefore it can be used as an identifiable signature of a reverse shock emission. On the other hand, the emission before the optical peak is highly sensitive to the initial conditions and therefore can be used to investigate the initial hydrodynamic profile of the ejecta. In particular, if the prompt γ\gamma-ray emission results from internal shocks, the early reverse shock emission should resemble a smoothed version of the prompt γ\gamma-ray light curve.Comment: Submitted to Il Nuovo Cimento, proceedings of the 4th Workshop Gamma-Ray Bursts in the Afterglow Era, Rome, 18-22 October 200

    The Afterglows of Swift-era Gamma-ray Bursts. I. Comparing pre-Swift and Swift-era Long/Soft (Type II) GRB Optical Afterglows

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    We have gathered optical photometry data from the literature on a large sample of Swift-era gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglows including GRBs up to 2009 September, for a total of 76 GRBs, and present an additional three pre-Swift GRBs not included in an earlier sample. Furthermore, we publish 840 additional new photometry data points on a total of 42 GRB afterglows, including large data sets for GRBs 050319, 050408, 050802, 050820A, 050922C, 060418, 080413A, and 080810. We analyzed the light curves of all GRBs in the sample and derived spectral energy distributions for the sample with the best data quality, allowing us to estimate the host-galaxy extinction. We transformed the afterglow light curves into an extinction-corrected z = 1 system and compared their luminosities with a sample of pre-Swift afterglows. The results of a former study, which showed that GRB afterglows clustered and exhibited a bimodal distribution in luminosity space, are weakened by the larger sample. We found that the luminosity distribution of the two afterglow samples (Swift-era and pre-Swift) is very similar, and that a subsample for which we were not able to estimate the extinction, which is fainter than the main sample, can be explained by assuming a moderate amount of line-of-sight host extinction. We derived bolometric isotropic energies for all GRBs in our sample, and found only a tentative correlation between the prompt energy release and the optical afterglow luminosity at 1 day after the GRB in the z = 1 system. A comparative study of the optical luminosities of GRB afterglows with echelle spectra (which show a high number of foreground absorbing systems) and those without, reveals no indication that the former are statistically significantly more luminous. Furthermore, we propose the existence of an upper ceiling on afterglow luminosities and study the luminosity distribution at early times, which was not accessible before the advent of the Swift satellite. Most GRBs feature afterglows that are dominated by the forward shock from early times on. Finally, we present the first indications of a class of long GRBs, which form a bridge between the typical high-luminosity, high-redshift events and nearby low-luminosity events (which are also associated with spectroscopic supernovae) in terms of energetics and observed redshift distribution, indicating a continuous distribution overal

    Time Scales in Long GRBs

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    We analyze a sample of bright long bursts and find that the pulses duration have a lognormal distribution while the intervals between pulses have an excess of long intervals (relative to lognormal distribution). This excess can be explained by the existence of quiescent times, long periods with no signal above the background. The lognormal distribution of the intervals (excluding the quiescent times) is similar to the distribution of the pulses width. This result suggests that the quiescent times are made by a different mechanism than the rest of the intervals. It also suggests that the intervals (excluding the quiescent times) and the pulse width are connected to the same parameters of the source. We find that there is a correlation between a pulse width and the duration of the interval preceding it. There is a weaker, but still a significant, correlation between a pulse width and the interval following it. The significance of the correlation drops substantially when the intervals considered are not adjacent to the pulse.Comment: 5 pages, 8 figures, accepted for publication by MNRA