With its rapid-response capability and multiwavelength complement of instruments, the Swift satellite has transformed our physical understanding of y-ray bursts (GRBs). Providing high-quality observations of hundreds of bursts, and facilitating a wide range of follow-up observations within seconds of each event, Swift has revealed an unforeseen richness in observed burst properties, shed light on the nature of short-duration bursts, and helped realize the promise of GRBs as probes of the processes and environments of star formation out to the earliest cosmic epochs. These advances have opened new perspectives on the nature and properties of burst central engines, interactions with the burst environment from microparsec to gigaparsec scales, and the possibilities for nonphotonic signatures. Our understanding of these extreme cosmic sources has thus advanced substantially; yet, more than 40 years after their discovery, GRBs continue to present major challenges on both observational and theoretical fronts.
|Number of pages
|Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics
|Published - Sep 2009
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science