Journal Article

GRB 090510: a short burst from a massive star?

A. Panaitescu

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 414, issue 2, pages 1379-1388
Published in print June 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online June 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
GRB 090510: a short burst from a massive star?

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Gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglow 090510 is (so far) the best-monitored afterglow in the optical, X-ray and above 100 MeV, measurements covering two–three decades in time at each frequency. Owing to its power-law temporal decay and power-law spectrum, it seems very likely that the highest energy emission is from the forward shock energizing the ambient medium (the standard blast-wave model for GRB afterglows), the GeV flux and its decay rate being consistent with that model’s expectations. However, the synchrotron emission from a collimated outflow (the standard jet model) has difficulties in accounting for the lower energy afterglow emission, where a simultaneous break occurs at 2 ks in the optical and X-ray light curves, but with the optical flux decay (before and after the break) being much slower than in the X-rays (at same time). The measured X-ray and GeV fluxes are incompatible with the higher energy afterglow emission being from same spectral component as the lower energy afterglow emission, which suggests a synchrotron self-Compton model for this afterglow. Cessation of energy injection in the blast wave and an ambient medium with a wind-like nr−2 density can explain all features of the optical and X-ray light curves of GRB afterglow 090510. Such an ambient medium radial structure is incompatible with this short GRB originating from the merger of two compact stars.

Keywords: radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; shock waves; gamma-ray burst: general

Journal Article.  10531 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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