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A wind environment and Lorentz factors of tens explain gamma-ray bursts X-ray plateau
Bar Ilan Univ, Dept Phys, IL-52900 Ramat Gan, Israel..
Bar Ilan Univ, Dept Phys, IL-52900 Ramat Gan, Israel..
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Physics. Oskar Klein Ctr, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden..ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9769-8016
Univ Birmingham, Sch Phys & Astron, Birmingham B15 2TT, W Midlands, England.;Univ Birmingham, Inst Gravitat Wave Astron, Birmingham B15 2TT, W Midlands, England..
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2022 (English)In: Nature Communications, E-ISSN 2041-1723, Vol. 13, no 1, article id 5611Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The origin of the plateau observed in the early X-ray light curves of gamma ray bursts (GRBs) is debated. Here, the authors show that the observed plateau can be explained within the classical GRB model by considering expanding shell with initial Lorentz factor of a few tens. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are known to have the most relativistic jets, with initial Lorentz factors in the order of a few hundreds. Many GRBs display an early X-ray light-curve plateau, which was not theoretically expected and therefore puzzled the community for many years. Here, we show that this observed signal is naturally obtained within the classical GRB fireball model, provided that the initial Lorentz factor is rather a few tens, and the expansion occurs into a medium-low density wind. The range of Lorentz factors in GRB jets is thus much wider than previously thought and bridges an observational gap between mildly relativistic jets inferred in active galactic nuclei, to highly relativistic jets deduced in few extreme GRBs. Furthermore, long GRB progenitors are either not Wolf-Rayet stars, or the wind properties during the final stellar evolution phase are different than at earlier times. Our model has predictions that can be tested to verify or reject it in the future, such as lack of GeV emission, lack of strong thermal component and long (few seconds) variability during the prompt phase characterizing plateau bursts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Nature , 2022. Vol. 13, no 1, article id 5611
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
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URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-319752DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-32881-1ISI: 000858076500004PubMedID: 36153328Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85138458307OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-319752DiVA, id: diva2:1701725
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QC 20221007

Available from: 2022-10-07 Created: 2022-10-07 Last updated: 2023-03-28Bibliographically approved

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