An analysis of gamma-ray burst spectral break models

Bing Zhang, Peter Mészáros

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

209 Scopus citations


Typical γ-ray burst (GRB) spectra are characterized by a spectral break Ep, which for bright BATSE bursts is found to be narrowly clustered around 300 keV. Recently identified X-ray flashes, which may account for a significant portion of the whole GRB population, seem to extend the E p distribution to a broader range below 40 keV. Positive correlations among Ep and some other observed parameters have been noticed. On the other hand, within the cosmological fireball model, the issues concerning the dominant energy ingredient of the fireball as well as the location of the GRB emission site are still unsettled, leading to several variants of the fireball model. Here we analyze these models within a unified framework and critically reexamine the Ep predictions in the various model variants. Attention is focused on the predictions of the narrowness of the Ep distribution in different models and the correlations among Ep and other measurable observables. These model properties can be tested against the current and upcoming GRB data, through which the nature of the fireball as well as the mechanism and site of the GRB emission will be identified. In view of the current data, various models are appraised through a simple Monte Carlo simulation, and a tentative discussion about the possible nature of X-ray flashes is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1236-1247
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Dec 20 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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