Journal Article

The late jet in gamma-ray bursts and its interactions with a supernova ejecta and a cocoon

Rongfeng Shen, Pawan Kumar and Tsvi Piran

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 403, issue 1, pages 229-245
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online March 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.16155.x
The late jet in gamma-ray bursts and its interactions with a supernova ejecta and a cocoon

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Late X-ray flares observed in X-ray afterglows of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) suggest late central engine activities at a few minutes to hours after the burst. A few unambiguously confirmed cases of supernova associations with nearby long GRBs imply that an accompanying supernova-like component might be a common feature in all long GRB events. These motivate us to study the interactions of a late jet, responsible for an X-ray flare, with various components in a stellar explosion, responsible for a GRB. These components include a supernova shell-like ejecta and a cocoon that was produced when the main jet producing the GRB itself was propagating through the progenitor star. We find that the interaction between the late jet and the supernova ejecta may produce a luminous (up to 1049 erg s−1) thermal X-ray transient lasting for ∼10 s. The interaction between the late jet and the cocoon produces synchrotron self-absorbed non-thermal emission, with the observed peak X-ray flux density from 0.001 μJy to 1 mJy at 1 keV and a peak optical flux density from 0.01 μJy to 0.1 Jy (for a redshift z= 2). The light curve due to the late-jet–cocoon interaction has a very small pulse-width-to-time ratio, Δt/t≈ 0.01–0.5, where t is the pulse peak time since the burst trigger. Identifying these features in current and future observations would open a new frontier in the study of GRB progenitor stars.

Keywords: supernovae: general; gamma-rays: bursts; gamma-rays: theory

Journal Article.  11384 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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