The Origin and Propagation of Variability in the Outflows of Long-duration Gamma-ray Bursts

Type Journal Article
Names Brian J. Morsony, Davide Lazzati, Mitchell C. Begelman
Publication The Astrophysical Journal
Volume 723
Issue 1
Pages 267-276
Date November 1, 2010
Library Catalog NASA ADS
Abstract We present the results of hydrodynamical simulations of gamma-ray burst (GRB) jets propagating through their stellar progenitor material and subsequently through the surrounding circumstellar medium. We consider both jets that are injected with constant properties in the center of the star and jets injected with a variable luminosity. We show that the variability properties of the jet outside the star are a combination of the variability injected at the base of the jet and the variability caused by the jet propagation through the star. Comparing power spectra for the two cases shows that the variability injected by the engine is preserved even if the jet is heavily shocked inside the star. Such shocking produces additional variability at long timescales, of order several seconds. Within the limited number of progenitors and jets investigated, our findings suggest that the broad pulses of several seconds duration typically observed in GRBs are due to the interaction of the jet with the progenitor, while the short-timescale variability, characterized by fluctuations on timescales of milliseconds, has to be injected at the base of the jet. Studying the properties of the fast variability in GRBs may therefore provide clues to the nature of the inner engine and the mechanisms of energy extraction from it.
Tags Methods: Numerical, gamma-ray burst: general, hydrodynamics, relativistic processes
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