Spectral properties of blast-wave models of gamma-ray burst sources

P. Mészáros, M. J. Rees, H. Papathanassiou

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218 Scopus citations


We calculate the spectrum of blast-wave models of gamma-ray burst sources, for various assumptions about the magnetic field density and the relativistic particle acceleration efficiency. For a range of physically plausible models we find that the radiation efficiency is high and leads to nonthermal spectra with breaks at various energies comparable to those observed in the gamma-ray range. Radiation is also predicted at other wavebands, in particular at X-ray, optical/UV, and GeV/TeV energies. We discuss the spectra as a function of duration for three basic types of models, and for cosmological, halo, and galactic disk distances. We also evaluate the gamma-ray fluences and the spectral characteristics for a range of external densities. Impulsive burst models at cosmological distances can satisfy the conventional X-ray paucity constraint Sx/Sy less than a few percent over a wide range of durations, but galactic models can do so only for bursts shorter than a few seconds, unless additional assumptions are made. The emissivity is generally larger for bursts in a denser external environment, with the efficiency increasing up to the point where all the energy input is radiated away.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-193
Number of pages13
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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