Vol 14, No 4

Prompt optical emission from gamma-ray bursts with multiple timescale variability of central engine activities

Si-Yao Xu, Zhuo Li


Abstract Complete high-resolution light curves of GRB 080319B observed by Swift present an opportunity for detailed temporal analysis of prompt optical emission. With a two-component distribution of initial Lorentz factors, we simulate the dynamical process of shells being ejected from the central engine in the framework of the internal shock model. The emitted radiations are decomposed into different frequency ranges for a temporal correlation analysis between the light curves in different energy bands. The resulting prompt optical and gamma-ray emissions show similar temporal profiles, with both showing a superposition of a component with slow variability and a component with fast variability, except that the gamma-ray light curve is much more variable than its optical counterpart. The variability in the simulated light curves and the strong correlation with a time lag between the optical and gamma-ray emissions are in good agreement with observations of GRB 080319B. Our simulations suggest that the variations seen in the light curves stem from the temporal structure of the shells injected from the central engine of gamma-ray bursts. Future observations with high temporal resolution of prompt optical emission from GRBs, e.g., by UFFO-Pathfinder and SVOM-GWAC, will provide a useful tool for investigating the central engine activity.


Keywords gamma rays: bursts — GRB 080319B

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