Schedule Feb 07, 2006
Recent Swift Results on GRB Afterglows
David Burrows (Penn State)

NASA's Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Explorer is designed to localize and study Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) and their afterglows, beginning within a few minutes of the burst events. Swift has now discovered over 100 GRBs and has produced detailed X-ray light curves and spectroscopy on over 90% of these, exceeding in the first nine months the total sample of GRB afterglows found in the previous 8 years. Key findings to date include rapid decays at early times and giant X-ray flares, suggesting that the central engines of GRBs continue long past the end of the prompt gamma-ray emission. We have also localized several short GRBs, providing important supporting evidence for compact merger theories for short bursts, but yielding puzzling afterglows with flares that suggest somewhat complex merger processes. I will discuss what these observations may be telling us about black hole creation associated with GRBs.

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