872 research outputs found

    Probing cosmological parameters with GRBs

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    In light of the recent finding of the narrow clustering of the geometrically-corrected gamma-ray energies emitted by Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs), we investigate the possibility to use these sources as standard candles to probe cosmological parameters such as the matter density Omega_m and the cosmological constant energy density Omega_Lambda. By simulating different samples of gamma-ray bursts, based on recent observational results, we find that Omega_m (with the prior Omega_m + Omega_Lambda = 1) can be determined with accuracy ~7% with data from 300 GRBs, provided a local calibration of the standard candles be achieved.Comment: 4 pages, 2 figures, to appear in the Proceedings of the Conference "30 Years of GRB Discovery", Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, September 8-12, 200

    On the anomalous X-ray afterglows of GRB 970508 and GRB 970828

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    Recently, BeppoSAX and ASCA have reported an unusual resurgence of soft X-ray emission during the afterglows of GRB 970508 and GRB 970828, together with marginal evidence for the existence of Fe-lines in both objects. We consider the implications of the existence of a torus of iron-rich material surrounding the sites of gamma ray bursts as would be expected in the SupraNova model; in particular, we show that the fireball will quickly hit this torus, and bring it to a temperature ~3x10^7 K. Bremsstrahlung emission from the heated up torus will cause a resurgence of the soft X-ray emission with all expected characteristics (flux level, duration and spectral hardening with time) identical to those observed during the reburst. Also, thermal emission from the torus will account for the observed iron line flux. These events are also observable, for instance by new missions such as SWIFT, when beaming away from our line sight makes us miss the main burst, as Fast (soft) X-ray Transients, with durations ~10^3 s, and fluences ~10^-7-10^-4 erg cm^-2. This model provides evidence in favor of the SupraNova model for Gamma Ray Bursts.Comment: To appear in MN Pink pages, MN-LateX, no figure

    On gravitomagnetic precession around black holes

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    We compute exactly the Lense-Thirring precession frequency for point masses in the Kerr metric, for arbitrary black hole mass and specific angular momentum. We show that this frequency, for point masses at or close to the innermost stable orbit, and for holes with moderate to extreme rotation, is less than, but comparable to the rotation frequency. Thus, if the quasi periodic oscillations (QPOs) observed in the modulation of the X-ray flux from some black holes candidates are due to Lense-Thirring precession of orbiting material, we predict that a separate, distinct QPO ought to be observed in each object.Comment: Accepted for publication in MNRAS. MN-Latex, 2 figure

    On the generation of UHECRs in GRBs: a reappraisal

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    We re-examine critically the arguments raised against the theory that Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays observed at Earth are produced in Gamma Ray Bursts. These include the limitations to the highest energy attainable by protons around the bursts' shocks, the spectral slope at the highest energies, the total energy released in non--thermal particles, the occurrence of doublets and triplets in the data reported by AGASA. We show that, to within the uncertainties in our current knowledge of GRBs, none of these objections is really fatal to the scenario. In particular, we show that the total energy budget of GRBs easily accounts for the energy injection rate necessary to account for UHECRs as observed at Earth. We also compute the expected particle spectrum at Earth, showing that it fits the HiRes and AGASA data to within statistical uncertainties. We consider the existence of multiplets in AGASA' data. To this end, we present a Langevin--like treatment for the motion of a charged particle in the IGM magnetic field, which allows us to estimate both the average and the rms timedelay for particles of given energy; we discuss when particles of identical energies reach the Earth in bunches, or spread over the rms timedelay, showing that multiplets pose no problem for an explosive model for the sources of UHECRs. We compare our model with a scenario where the particles are accelerated at internal shocks, underlining differences and advantages of particle acceleration at external shocks.Comment: Accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal; minor change

    Iron line emission in X-ray afterglows

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    Recent observations of X-ray afterglows reveal the presence of a redshifted Kalpha iron line in emission in four bursts. In GRB 991216, the line was detected by the low energy grating of Chandra, which showed the line to be broad, with a full width of ~15,000 km/s. These observations indicate the presence of a >1 solar mass of iron rich material in the close vicinity of the burst, most likely a supernova remnant. The fact that such strong lines are observed less than a day after the trigger strongly limits the size of the remnant, which must be very compact. If the remnant had the observed velocity since the supernova explosion, its age would be less than a month. In this case nickel and cobalt have not yet decayed into iron. We show how to solve this paradox.Comment: 3 pages, to appear in the proceedings of the the 2nd Workshop on Gamma-Ray Bursts in the Afterglow Era, Rome, Oct. 200

    Ultra high energy neutrinos from gamma ray bursts

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    Protons accelerated to high energies in the relativistic shocks that generate gamma ray bursts photoproduce pions, and then neutrinos in situ. I show that ultra high energy neutrinos (> 10^19 eV) are produced during the burst and the afterglow. A larger flux, also from bursts, is generated via photoproduction off CMBR photons in flight but is not correlated with currently observable bursts, appearing as a bright background. Adiabatic/synchrotron losses from protons/pions/muons are negligible. Temporal and directional coincidences with bursts detected by satellites can separate correlated neutrinos from the background.Comment: Adiabatic/synchrotron losses from protons/pions/muons shown to be negligible. Accepted for publication in Phys. Rev. Letters. RevTe

    Correlations in the QPO Frequencies of Low Mass X-Ray Binaries and the Relativistic Precession Model

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    A remarkable correlation between the centroid frequencies of quasi periodic oscillations, QPOs, (or peaked noise components) from low mass X-ray binaries, has been recently discovered by Psaltis, Belloni and van der Klis (1999). This correlation extends over nearly 3 decades in frequency and encompasses both neutron star and black hole candidate systems. We discuss this result in the light of the relativistic precession model, which has been proposed to interpret the kHz QPOs as well as some of the lower frequency QPOs of neutron star low mass X-ray binaries of the Atoll and Z classes. Unlike other models the relativistic precession model does not require the compact object to be a neutron star and can be applied to black hole candidates as well. We show that the predictions of the relativistic precession model match both the value and dependence of the correlation to a very good accuracy without resorting to additional assumptions.Comment: To appear in ApJ Letters. AASTEX Latex v. 5.0, 1 figure not include

    The soft X-ray afterglow of gamma ray bursts, a stringent test for the fireball model

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    I consider the recent discovery of a soft X-ray source inside the error box of the gamma ray burst GB 960720 by the SAX, ASCA and ROSAT satellites, in terms of the fireball model. I show that the ejecta shell, which, after causing the burst is cold and dense, but still relativistic, keeps plowing through the interstellar medium, heating up the just-shocked matter which then emits X-rays. I compute the radiation emitted by this matter. I show that, up to about two months after the burst, in the cosmological scenario a soft X-ray (0.1-10 keV) flux of at least 10^(-13) erg / s cm^2, well within current observational capabilities, is generated, explaining the observations of the three satellites. Instead, in the Galactic Halo scenario a flux 3 orders of magnitude lower is expected. Detection of this non-thermal, declining flux in a statistically significant number of objects would simultaneously establish the fireball model and the cosmological nature of gamma ray bursts.Comment: Replaces previous version: now it does include figure. Accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letter

    Neutrinos from Gamma-Ray Bursts in Pulsar Wind Bubbles: \sim 10^{16} eV

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    The supranova model for Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) is becoming increasingly more popular. In this scenario the GRB occurs weeks to years after a supernova explosion, and is located inside a pulsar wind bubble (PWB). Protons accelerated in the internal shocks that emit the GRB may interact with the external PWB photons producing pions which decay into \sim 10^{16} eV neutrinos. A km^2 neutrino detector would observe several events per year correlated with the GRBs.Comment: Accepted for publication in PRL. 4 pages, 3 figures, minor change
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