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Title: GAMMA-RAY BURSTS FROM MAGNETIC RECONNECTION: VARIABILITY AND ROBUSTNESS OF LIGHT CURVES

The dissipation mechanism that powers gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) remains uncertain almost half a century after their discovery. The two main competing mechanisms are the extensively studied internal shocks and the less studied magnetic reconnection. Here we consider GRB emission from magnetic reconnection accounting for the relativistic bulk motions that it produces in the jet's bulk rest frame. Far from the source the magnetic field is almost exactly normal to the radial direction, suggesting locally quasi-spherical thin reconnection layers between regions of oppositely directed magnetic field. We show that if the relativistic motions in the jet's frame are confined to such a quasi-spherical uniform layer, then the resulting GRB light curves are independent of their direction distribution within this layer. This renders previous results for a delta-function velocity-direction distribution applicable to a much more general class of reconnection models, which are suggested by numerical simulations. Such models that vary in their velocity-direction distribution differ mainly in the size of the bright region that contributes most of the observed flux at a given emission radius or observed time. The more sharply peaked this distribution, the smaller this bright region, and the stronger the light curve variability that may be induced by deviationsmore » from a uniform emission over the thin reconnection layer, which may be expected in a realistic GRB outflow. This is reflected both in the observed image at a given observed time and in the observer-frame emissivity map at a given emission radius, which are calculated here for three simple velocity-direction distributions.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Department of Natural Sciences, The Open University of Israel, 1 University Road, P.O. Box 808, Ra’anana 4353701 (Israel)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518640
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 816; Journal Issue: 2; 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; COSMIC GAMMA BURSTS; DELTA FUNCTION; DIAGRAMS; EMISSIVITY; JETS; LAYERS; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMICS; RELATIVISTIC RANGE; VISIBLE RADIATION