Gamma-ray bursts: Nature's brightest explosions

W. Zhang, S. E. Woosley, A. I. MacFadyen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    During the roughly 20 seconds it shines brightest, a gamma-ray burst (GRB) is over a billion times brighter, in electromagnetic radiation, than an ordinary supernova. The key difference is that GRBs emit some appreciable fraction of their kinetic energy in channeled ultra-relativistic outflows (Lorentz factor Γ > 200). Currently credible models point to rotation as the key factor required to generate the outflows. We explore here the collapse of the core a massive, rotating star to a black hole and accretion disk and the subsequent propagation of relativistic jets through the star. A variety of high energy transients may be observed based upon the energy of the jet and the angle at which the explosion is observed, but there may be a minimum energy for GRBs that last only tens of seconds.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number055
    Pages (from-to)403-407
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Oct 1 2006

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Physics and Astronomy


    Dive into the research topics of 'Gamma-ray bursts: Nature's brightest explosions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this