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Published November 20, 2015 | Published + Submitted
Journal Article Open

Energy Injection in Gamma-ray Burst Afterglows


We present multi-wavelength observations and modeling of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) that exhibit a simultaneous re-brightening in their X-ray and optical light curves, and are also detected at radio wavelengths. We show that the re-brightening episodes can be modeled by injection of energy into the blastwave and that in all cases the energy injection rate falls within the theoretical bounds expected for a distribution of energy with ejecta Lorentz factor. Our measured values of the circumburst density, jet opening angle, and beaming-corrected kinetic energy are consistent with the distribution of these parameters for long-duration GRBs at both z ~ 1 and z ≳ 6, suggesting that the jet launching mechanism and environment of these events are similar to that of GRBs that do not have bumps in their light curves. However, events exhibiting re-brightening episodes have lower radiative efficiencies than average, suggesting that a majority of the kinetic energy of the outflow is carried by slow-moving ejecta, which is further supported by steep measured distributions of the ejecta energy as a function of Lorentz factor. We do not find evidence for reverse shocks over the energy injection period, implying that the onset of energy injection is a gentle process. We further show that GRBs exhibiting simultaneous X-ray and optical re-brightenings are likely the tail of a distribution of events with varying rates of energy injection, forming the most extreme events in their class. Future X-ray observations of GRB afterglows with Swift and its successors will thus likely discover several more such events, while radio follow-up and multi-wavelength modeling of similar events will unveil the role of energy injection in GRB afterglows.

Additional Information

© 2015 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2015 April 14; accepted 2015 June 6; published 2015 November 10. We thank the anonymous referee for their thoughtful and detailed comments. We thank M. Viero and J. Viera for acquiring the P200 WIRC observations as part of our target-of-opportunity program. Support for CARMA construction was derived from the states of California, Illinois, and Maryland, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, the University of Chicago, the Associates of the California Institute of Technology, and the National Science Foundation. Ongoing CARMA development and operations are supported by the National Science Foundation under a cooperative agreement, and by the CARMA partner universities. The Submillimeter Array is a joint project between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics and is funded by the Smithsonian Institution and the Academia Sinica. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation under cooperative agreement by Associated universities, Inc. The Berger GRB group at Harvard is supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant AST-1107973. B.A.Z. acknowledges support from NSF AST-1302954. D.A.P. is supported by Hubble Fellowship grant HST-HF-51296.01-A, and by NASA through an award issued by JPL/Caltech as part of Spitzer proposal GO-90082. This research has made use of data obtained through the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center Online Service, provided by the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.

Attached Files

Submitted - 1504.03702v1.pdf

Published - Laskar_2015.pdf


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August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023