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S. R. Kulkarni (Caltech)
The BeppoSAX era saw the discovery of afterglow emission from long duration GRB s. The resulting X-ray, optical and radio studies of the afterglow emission conclusively linked long duration gamma-ray bursts with deaths of massive stars. Thanks to Swift and HETE we now know that short hard bursts do not have associated supernovae and can be found in elliptical galaxies. The stage is now set to start understanding the physics of the explosions. I consider and address the following two questions: (1) is the central engines active for a long time (relative to the burst)? (2) what are the physical parameters (mass, velocity and composition) of the ejecta? The rapid as well as sustained response by the XRT aboard Swift and the resulting panchromatic studies with ground based facilities allow these questions to be now addressed.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.