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Ambient Interaction Models for γ-Ray Burst Afterglows

  • Zhi-Yun Li
  • Roger A. Chevalier
Chapter
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 598)

Abstract

We review ambient interaction models for γ-ray burst afterglows, with an eye on constraining the nature of the progenitors and the geometry of the explosion. Evidence is presented for two types of progenitors. The radio afterglow of GRB980425/SN1998bw and the multi-frequency observations of GRB970508 can be fitted by a blastwave expanding into a wind-type medium, pointing to a massive star progenitor. The broadband afterglow data of GRB990123 and GRB990510 are better modeled by a jet expanding into a constant density medium, implying a compact star merger origin. Among other well observed γ-ray bursts, the jet model appears to be more widely applicable than the wind model, although some cases are ambiguous. The model fits often require a deviation of the energy distribution of the radiating electrons from the commonly assumed single power-law form, particularly for sources with a rapid decline and/or a pronounced steepening in the optical light curves. Transition to non-relativistic evolution has been suggested as an alternative explanation for the light curve steepening, although to produce steepening on the order of days or less would require very high ambient densities which are generally difficult to reconcile with radio observations. Major open issues include the hydrodynamics of jet-ambient medium interaction, a self-consistent determination of the electron energy distribution, and the effects of pair production on the early afterglows which are expected to be particularly large for the wind interaction model.

Keywords

Light Curve Massive Star Wind Model Inverse Compton Scattering Decay Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhi-Yun Li
    • 1
  • Roger A. Chevalier
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AstronomyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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