AAS 198th Meeting, June 2001
Session 35. GRBs: A Mystery and a Tool
Topical Session Oral, Tuesday, June 5, 2001, 8:30am-12:30pm, 2:00-5:30pm, C107

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[35.01] Introduction to GRBs and Their Afterglow

T. Piran (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) have been among the outstanding astronomical puzzles since their discovery in 1973. The typical energy of these events is clustered around a few hundred keV, and their durations vary from a few ms up to several minutes. There is good evidence that these events are produced by ``fireballs'', extreme relativistic flows that dissipate their kinetic energy by internal shocks. Once the fireball interacts with the surrounding medium, X-ray, optical and radio waves are emitted, the so called afterglow. Detailed observations of the afterglow in recent years have established that GRBs originate at cosmological distances and are the most powerful explosions known. We will describe fireball physics, the basic theory of the so called internal-external model, and some implications for possible progenitors.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: tsvi@nikki.fiz.huji.ac.il

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