Shallow decay phase of GRB X-ray afterglows from relativistic wind bubbles
Department of Astronomy, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, PR China e-mail: [yuyw;dzg]@nju.edu.cn
2 Institute of Astrophysics, Huazhong Normal University, Wuhan 430079, PR China
Accepted: 16 April 2007
Aims.The postburst object of a GRB is likely to be a highly magnetized, rapidly rotating compact object (e.g., a millisecond magnetar), which could produce an ultrarelativistic electron-positron-pair wind. The interaction of such a wind with an outwardly expanding fireball ejected during the burst leads to a relativistic wind bubble (RWB). We investigate the properties of RWBs and use this model to explain the shallow decay phase of the early X-ray afterglows observed by Swift.
Methods.We numerically calculate the dynamics and radiative properties of RWBs.
Results.We find that RWBs can fall into two types: forward-shock-dominated and reverse-shock-dominated bubbles. Their radiation during a period of ~ s is dominated by the shocked medium and the shocked wind, respectively, based on different magnetic energy fractions of the shocked materials. For both types, the resulting light curves always have a shallow decay phase, as discovered by Swift. In addition, we provide an example fit to the X-ray afterglows of GRB 060813 and GRB 060814 and show that they could be produced by forward-shock-dominated and reverse-shock-dominated bubbles, respectively. This implies that, for some early afterglows (e.g., GRB 060814), the long-lasting reverse shock emission is strong enough to explain their shallow decay phase.
Key words: gamma rays: burst / relativity / shock waves / stars: winds, outflows
© ESO, 2007