Iron K lines from gamma-ray bursts

T. R. Kallman, P. Mészáros, M. J. Rees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We present models for reprocessing of an intense flux of X-rays and gamma rays expected in the vicinity of gamma-ray burst sources. We consider the transfer and reprocessing of the energetic photons into observable features in the X-ray band, notably the K lines of iron. Our models are based on the assumption that the gas is sufficiently dense to allow the microphysical processes to be in a steady state, thus allowing efficient line emission with modest reprocessing mass and elemental abundances ranging from solar to moderately enriched. We show that the reprocessing is enhanced by down-Comptonization of photons whose energy would otherwise be too high to absorb in iron and that pair production can have an effect on enhancing the line production. Both "distant" reprocessors, such as supernova or wind remnants, and "nearby" reprocessors, such as outer stellar envelopes, can reproduce the observed line fluxes with Fe abundances 30100 times above solar, depending on the incidence angle. The high incidence angles required arise naturally only in nearby models, which for plausible values can reach Fe line-to-continuum ratios close to the reported values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)946-960
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Aug 20 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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