The hydrodynamics of gamma-ray burst remnants

Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, Andrew I. MacFadyen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper reports on the results of a numerical investigation designed to address how the initially anisotropic appearance of a gamma-ray burst (GRB) remnant is modified by the character of the circumburst medium and by the possible presence of an accompanying supernova (SN). Axisymmetric hydrodynamical calculations of light, impulsive jets propagating in both uniform and inhomogeneous external media are presented, which show that the resulting dynamics of their remnants since the onset of the non-relativistic phase is different from the standard self-similar solutions. Because massive star progenitors are expected to have their close-in surroundings modified by the progenitor winds, we consider both free winds and shocked winds as possible external media for GRB remnant evolution. Abundant confirmation is provided here of the important notion that the morphology and visibility of GRB remnants are determined largely by their circumstellar environments. For this reason, their detectability is highly biased in favor of those with massive star progenitors; although, in this class of models, the beamed component may be difficult to identify because the GRB ejecta is eventually swept up by the accompanying SN. The number density of asymmetric GRB remnants in the local universe could be, however, far larger if they expand in a tenuous interstellar medium, as expected for some short GRB progenitor models. In these sources, the late size of the observable, asymmetric remnant could extend over a wide, possibly resolvable angle and may be easier to constrain directly.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1028-1039
    Number of pages12
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 2010


    • Gamma-ray burst: general
    • Hydrodynamics
    • ISM: supernova remnants
    • Stars: massive
    • Supernovae: general

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


    Dive into the research topics of 'The hydrodynamics of gamma-ray burst remnants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this