Volume 480, Number 2, March III 2008
|Page(s)||305 - 312|
|Published online||09 January 2008|
Prompt GRB emission from gradual energy dissipation
Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Box 1317, 85741 Garching, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 24 December 2007
I calculate the emission expected from a Poynting-flux-dominated gamma-ray burst (GRB) flow in which energy is dissipated gradually by magnetic reconnection. In this picture, the energy of the radiating particles is determined by heating and cooling balance (slow heating model). Detailed radiative transfer calculations show that, at Thomson optical depths of order of unity, the dominant radiative process is inverse Compton scattering. Synchrotron-self-absorbed emission and inverse Compton dominate in the Thomson thin parts of the flow. The electrons stay thermal throughout the dissipation region because of Coulomb collisions (Thomson thick part of the flow) and exchange of synchrotron photons (Thomson thin part). The resulting spectrum naturally explains the observed sub-MeV break of the GRB emission and the spectral slopes above and below the break. The model predicts that the γ-ray power-law tail has a high-energy cutoff typically in the ~ GeV energy range that should be observable with GLAST. The model also predicts a prompt emission component in the optical and UV associated with the GeV emission. Observations of the prompt emission of GRB 061121 that cover the energy range from the optical to ~1 MeV are explained by the model.
Key words: gamma rays: bursts / radiation mechanisms: general / methods: statistical
© ESO, 2008
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