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Title: Uncovering the intrinsic variability of gamma-ray bursts

We develop a robust technique to determine the minimum variability timescale for gamma-ray burst (GRB) light curves, utilizing Haar wavelets. Our approach averages over the data for a given GRB, providing an aggregate measure of signal variation while also retaining sensitivity to narrow pulses within complicated time series. In contrast to previous studies using wavelets, which simply define the minimum timescale in reference to the measurement noise floor, our approach identifies the signature of temporally smooth features in the wavelet scaleogram and then additionally identifies a break in the scaleogram on longer timescales as a signature of a true, temporally unsmooth light curve feature or features. We apply our technique to the large sample of Swift GRB gamma-ray light curves and for the first time—due to the presence of a large number of GRBs with measured redshift—determine the distribution of minimum variability timescales in the source frame. We find a median minimum timescale for long-duration GRBs in the source frame of Δt {sub min} = 0.5 s, with the shortest timescale found being on the order of 10 ms. This short timescale suggests a compact central engine (3 × 10{sup 3} km). We discuss further implications for the GRB fireballmore » model and present a tantalizing correlation between the minimum timescale and redshift, which may in part be due to cosmological time dilation.« less
Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Cosmology Initiative, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA. (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22356707
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 787; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; CORRELATIONS; COSMIC GAMMA BURSTS; DATA ANALYSIS; DISTRIBUTION; FIREBALL MODEL; GAMMA RADIATION; RED SHIFT; SENSITIVITY; VARIATIONS; VISIBLE RADIATION