Journal Article

Testing the blast wave model with <i>Swift</i> GRBs

P. A. Curran, R. L. C. Starling, A. J. Van Der Horst and R. A. M. J. Wijers

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 395, issue 1, pages 580-592
Published in print May 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.14578.x
Testing the blast wave model with Swift GRBs

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The complex structure of the light curves of Swift Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) has made the identification of breaks, and the interpretation of the blast wave caused by the burst, more difficult than in the pre-Swift era. We aim to identify breaks, which are possibly hidden, and to constrain the blast wave parameters; electron energy distribution, p, density profile of the circumburst medium, k, and the continued energy injection index, q. We do so by comparing the observed multiwavelength light curves and X-ray spectra of our sample to the predictions of the blast wave model. We can successfully interpret all of the bursts in our sample of 10, except two, within this framework and we can estimate, with confidence, the electron energy distribution index for 6 of the sample. Furthermore, we identify jet breaks in a number of the bursts. A statistical analysis of the distribution of p reveals that, even in the most conservative case of least scatter, the values are not consistent with a single, universal value. The values of k suggest that the circumburst density profiles are not drawn from only one of the constant density or wind-like media populations.

Keywords: radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; gamma rays: bursts; X-rays: bursts

Journal Article.  11044 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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