Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Gamma ray burst outflows and afterglows
by Morsony, Brian J., Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2008, 185; 3337066
Abstract (Summary)

We carry out a theoretical investigation of jet propagation in Gamma Ray Bursts and examine the jitter radiation mechanism as a means of producing prompt and afterglow emission. We study the long-term evolution of relativistic jets in collapsars and examine the effects of viewing angle on the subsequent gamma ray bursts. Our simulations allow us to single out three phases in the jet evolution: a precursor phase in which relativistic material turbulently shed from the head of the jet first emerges from the star; a shocked jet phase where a fully shocked jet of material is emerging; and an unshocked jet phase where the jet consists of a free-streaming, unshocked core surrounded by a thin boundary layer of shocked jet material. We also carry out a series of simulations with central engines that vary on long time periods comparable to the breakout time of the jet, on short time periods (0.1s) much less than the breakout time, and finally that decay as a power law at late times. We conclude that rapid variability seen in prompt GRB emission, as well as shallow decays and flares seen in the X-ray afterglow, can be caused by central engine variability. Finally, we present a detailed computation of the jitter radiation spectrum, including self-absorption, for electrons inside Weibel-like shock-generated magnetic fields. We apply our results to the case of the prompt and afterglow emission of gamma-ray bursts. We conclude that jitter and synchrotron afterglows can be distinguished from each other with good quality observations. However, it is unlikely that the difference can explain the peculiar behavior of several recent observations, such as flat X-ray slopes and uncorrelated optical and X-ray behavior.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Begelman, Mitchell C.
Commitee: Armitage, Phillip J., Lazzati, Davide, Parker, Scott, Perna, Rosalba, Shull, Michael
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-B 69/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Astronomy, Nuclear physics, Plasma physics
Keywords: Afterglows, Gamma-ray bursts, Hydrodynamics, Radiation mechanisms, Shocks
Publication Number: 3337066
ISBN: 978-0-549-91668-0
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