Gamma-ray burst afterglow broadband fitting based directly on hydrodynamics simulations

Hendrik Van Eerten, Alexander Van Der Horst, Andrew MacFadyen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We present a powerful new tool for fitting broadband gamma-ray burst afterglow data, which can be used to determine the burst explosion parameters and the synchrotron radiation parameters. By making use of scale invariance between relativistic jets of different energies and different circumburst medium densities, and by capturing the output of high-resolution two-dimensional relativistic hydrodynamical (RHD) jet simulations in a concise summary, the jet dynamics are generated quickly. Our method calculates the full light curves and spectra using linear radiative transfer sufficiently fast to allow for a direct iterative fit of RHD simulations to the data. The fit properly accounts for jet features that so far have not been successfully modeled analytically, such as jet decollimation, inhomogeneity along the shock front, and the transitory phase between the early-time relativistic and late-time non-relativistic outflow. As a first application of the model we simultaneously fit the radio, X-ray, and optical data of GRB 990510. We find not only noticeable differences between our findings for the explosion and radiation parameters and those of earlier authors, but also an improved model fit when we include the observer angle in the data fit. The fit method will be made freely available on request and online at In addition to data fitting, the software tools can also be used to quickly generate a light curve or spectrum for arbitrary observer position, jet, and radiation parameters.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number44
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Apr 10 2012


    • gamma-ray burst: general
    • hydrodynamics
    • methods: data analysis
    • relativistic processes
    • shock waves

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


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