Thermal emission in the early X-ray afterglows of gamma-ray bursts: following the prompt phase to late times.
FRIIS M. and WATSON D.
Abstract (from CDS):
Thermal radiation, peaking in soft X-rays, has now been detected in a handful of gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglows and has to date been interpreted as shock break-out of the GRB's progenitor star. We present a search for thermal emission in the early X-ray afterglows of a sample of Swift bursts selected by their brightness in X-rays at early times. We identify a clear thermal component in eight GRBs and track the evolution. We show that at least some of the emission must come from highly relativistic material since two show an apparent super-luminal expansion of the thermal component. Furthermore, we determine very large luminosities and high temperatures for many of the components–too high to originate in a supernova shock break-out. Instead, we suggest that the component may be modeled as late photospheric emission from the jet, linking it to the apparently thermal component observed in the prompt emission of some GRBs at gamma-ray and hard X-ray energies. By comparing the parameters from the prompt emission and the early afterglow emission, we find that the results are compatible with the interpretation that we are observing the prompt quasi-thermal emission component in soft X-rays at a later point in its evolution.
gamma-ray burst: general - radiation mechanisms: thermal