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Internal shocks in a relativistic wind as a source for gamma-ray bursts?

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We investigate the recent proposal made by Rees and Mészáros (1994) that GRBs result from internal shocks in the relativistic wind emerging from two coalesced neutron stars. Using a simple model of that wind, where a large number of layers with different Lorentz factors interact through a series of mildly relativistic shocks we compute the efficiency of the process and the time profile of the resulting burst. We show that a great variety of profiles can be obtained using plausible initial distributions of Lorentz factors in the wind. However, the rather low overall efficiency (< 10%) of the process and limits imposed on the burst duration can be used to put severe constraints on the nature of the energy source.

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Mochkovitch, R., Maitia, V. & Marques, R. Internal shocks in a relativistic wind as a source for gamma-ray bursts?. Astrophys Space Sci 231, 441–444 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00658666

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Key words

  • Gamma-ray bursts
  • Relativistic wind
  • Shock waves