Synthetic off-axis light curves for low-energy gamma-ray bursts

Hendrik J. Van Eerten, Andrew I. MacFadyen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We present results for a large number of gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglow light curve calculations, done by combining high-resolution two-dimensional relativistic hydrodynamics simulations using RAM with a synchrotron radiation code. Results were obtained for jet energies, circumburst medium densities, and jet angles typical for short and underluminous GRBs, different observer angles, and observer frequencies from low radio (75 MHz) to X-ray (1.5 keV). We summarize the light curves through smooth power-law fits with up to three breaks, covering jet breaks for small observer angles, the rising phase for large observer angles, and the rise and decay of the counterjet. All light curve data are publicly available on the Web. The data can be used for model fits to observational data and as an aid for predicting observations by future telescopes such as LOFAR or the Square Kilometer Array and will benefit the study of neutron star mergers using different channels, such as gravitational-wave observations with LIGO or Virgo. For small observer angles, we find jet break times that vary significantly between frequencies, with the break time in the radio substantially postponed. Increasing the observer angle also postpones the measured jet break time. The rising phase of the light curve for large observer angle has a complex shape that cannot always be summarized by a simple power law. Except for very large observer angles, the counterjet is a distinct feature in the light curve, although in practice the signal will be exceedingly difficult to observe by then.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article numberL37
    JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
    Issue number2 PART 2
    StatePublished - Jun 1 2011


    • acceleration of particles
    • gamma-ray burst: general
    • hydrodynamics
    • methods: numerical

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


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