Gamma-ray burst afterglow: Polarization and analytic light curves

Andrei Gruzinov, Eli Waxman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Gamma-ray burst afterglow polarization is discussed. We find an observable, up to ∼10%, polarization, if the magnetic field coherence length grows at about the speed of light after the field is generated at the shock front. Detection of a polarized afterglow would show that collisionless ultrarelativistic shocks can generate strong large-scale magnetic fields and confirm the synchrotron afterglow model. Nondetection, at the ∼1% level, would imply that either the synchrotron emission model is incorrect or that strong magnetic fields, after they are generated in the shock, somehow manage to stay undissipated at "microscopic," skin depth, scales. Analytic light curves of synchrotron emission from an ultrarelativistic self-similar blast wave are obtained for an arbitrary electron distribution function, taking into account the effects of synchrotron cooling. The peak synchrotron flux and the flux at frequencies much smaller than the peak frequency are insensitive to the details of the electron distribution function; hence, their observational determination would provide strong constraints on blast-wave parameters.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)852-861
    Number of pages10
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Volume511
    Issue number2 PART 1
    StatePublished - Feb 1 1999

    Fingerprint

    afterglows
    gamma ray bursts
    light curve
    synchrotrons
    polarization
    magnetic field
    blasts
    electron
    electron distribution
    distribution functions
    shock
    magnetic fields
    skin
    cooling
    shock fronts
    guy wires
    distribution

    Keywords

    • Gamma rays: bursts
    • Polarization
    • Radiation mechanisms: nonthermal
    • Shock waves
    • Stars: magnetic fields

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Space and Planetary Science

    Cite this

    Gruzinov, A., & Waxman, E. (1999). Gamma-ray burst afterglow: Polarization and analytic light curves. Astrophysical Journal, 511(2 PART 1), 852-861.

    Gamma-ray burst afterglow : Polarization and analytic light curves. / Gruzinov, Andrei; Waxman, Eli.

    In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 511, No. 2 PART 1, 01.02.1999, p. 852-861.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Gruzinov, A & Waxman, E 1999, 'Gamma-ray burst afterglow: Polarization and analytic light curves', Astrophysical Journal, vol. 511, no. 2 PART 1, pp. 852-861.
    Gruzinov A, Waxman E. Gamma-ray burst afterglow: Polarization and analytic light curves. Astrophysical Journal. 1999 Feb 1;511(2 PART 1):852-861.
    Gruzinov, Andrei ; Waxman, Eli. / Gamma-ray burst afterglow : Polarization and analytic light curves. In: Astrophysical Journal. 1999 ; Vol. 511, No. 2 PART 1. pp. 852-861.
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