Published in Reports on Progress in Physics, Volume 69, Issue 8, pp. 2259-2321 (2006).
astro-ph/0605208

For a PDF version of the article, click here.

GAMMA-RAY BURSTS

P. Mészáros


Dept. of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Dept. of Physics,
Pennsylvania State University, 525 Davey Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802, USA


Abstract: Gamma-ray bursts are the most luminous explosions in the Universe, and their origin and mechanism are the focus of intense research and debate. More than three decades after their discovery, and after pioneering breakthroughs from space and ground experiments, their study is entering a new phase with the recently launched Swift satellite. The interplay between these observations and theoretical models of the prompt gamma ray burst and its afterglow is reviewed.


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

OBSERVATIONAL PROGRESS UP TO 2005
Progenitor candidates
Light curve breaks and jets
Optical flashes
Association with supernovae
X-ray flashes
Empirical correlations and distance estimators

RECENT RESULTS FROM SWIFT AND FOLLOW-UP OBSERVATIONS

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The Relativistic Fireball Model
Reference frames and timescales in relativistic flows
Relativistic dynamics
Optical Depth and Photosphere
Thermal vs. Dissipative Fireballs and Shocks
Duration, reverse shocks, thin and thick shells
Spectrum of the Prompt GRB Emission
Alternative Prompt Emission Models

AFTERGLOW RADIATION MODELS
The standard model
Prompt Flashes and Reverse Shocks
Dependence on external density, injection variability and anisotropy
Equal arrival time surface and limb brightening effect
Jets

CURRENT THEORETICAL ISSUES IN AFTERGLOW MODELS
Early steep decay
Shallow decay
X-ray flares
Late steep decay and jet breaks
Prompt optical flashes and high redshift afterglows

SHORT GRB IN THE SWIFT ERA
Short GRB observations
Short GRB prompt and afterglow emission
Short burst hosts and progenitors
Short burst redshifts and progenitor lifetimes

LONG GRB PROGENITORS IN LIGHT OF SWIFT
Long GRB hosts and progenitors
Supernova connection
Jet dynamics, cocoons and progenitors

VERY HIGH ENERGY PHOTONS AND NON-ELECTROMAGNETIC EMISSION
UHE photons from GRB
Cosmic rays from GRB
UHE neutrinos contemporary with gamma-rays
Precursor neutrinos
Gravitational waves

REFERENCES

Next