Volume 616, August 2018
|Number of page(s)||21|
|Published online||03 September 2018|
Characterization of gamma-ray burst prompt emission spectra down to soft X-rays
SISSA, via Bonomea 265, 34136 Trieste, Italy
2 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, via Bianchi 46, 23807 Merate (LC), Italy
3 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, via G.B. Tiepolo 11, 34143 Trieste, Italy
4 INFN – Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Sezione di Trieste, via Valerio 2, 34127, Trieste, Italy
Accepted: 23 May 2018
Detection of prompt emission by Swift-XRT provides a unique tool to study how the prompt spectrum of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) extends down to the soft X-ray band. This energy band is particularly important for prompt emission studies, since it is towards low energies that the observed spectral shape is in disagreement with the synchrotron predictions. Unfortunately, the number of cases where XRT started observing the GRB location during the prompt phase is very limited. In this work, we collect a sample of 34 GRBs and perform joint XRT+BAT spectral analysis of prompt radiation, extending a previous study focused on the 14 brightest cases. Fermi-GBM observations are included in the analysis when available (11 cases), allowing the characterization of prompt spectra from soft X-rays to MeV energies. In 62% of the spectra, the XRT data reveal a hardening of the spectrum, well described by introducing an additional, low-energy power-law segment (with index α1) into the empirical fitting function. The break energy below which the spectrum hardens has values between 3 keV and 22 keV. A second power-law (α2) describes the spectrum between the break energy and the peak energy. The mean values of the photon indices are 〈α1〉 = −0.51 (σ = 0.24) and 〈α2〉 = −1.56 (σ = 0.26). These are consistent, within one σ, with the synchrotron values in fast cooling regime. As a test, if we exclude XRT data from the fits we find typical results: the spectrum below the peak energy is described by a power law with 〈α〉 = −1.15. This shows the relevance of soft X-ray data in revealing prompt emission spectra consistent with synchrotron spectra. Finally, we do not find any correlation between the presence of the X-ray break energy and the flux, fluence, or duration of the prompt emission.
Key words: gamma-ray burst: general / radiation mechanisms: non-thermal
© ESO 2018
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