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Statistical Investigations ofthe Emission Processes in Gamma-ray Bursts

Time: Tue 2020-01-28 13.00

Location: FB42, Roslagstullsbacken 21, Stockholm, Stockholm (English)

Subject area: Physics, Atomic, Subatomic and Astrophysics

Doctoral student: Zeynep Acuner , Fysik

Opponent: Dr Judith Racusin, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, USA

Supervisor: Professor Felix Ryde, Partikel- och astropartikelfysik


Physical emission mechanisms responsible for gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) remain elusive to this day, 50 years after their discovery. Although there are well studied physical models, their power to explain the observed data is a matter of debate. In this thesis, the main focus is the statistical studies of the dierent physical models given the available data from the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Observatory to make better comparisons between these models as well as ascertaining how well they can explain the available observations so far. To this end, theoretically predicted thermal and non-thermal GRB spectra are investigated. This investigation entails both ending groupings in the catalog data (clustering) and then simulating the expected physical emission processes to test how they would look like in the current data acquiry, processing and tting procedures. Finally, a Bayesian model comparison is performed in a sub-sample of these bursts to quantify the preference of different models by the data. In conclusion, it is found that around one third of all bursts include intervals where the emission is from a photosphere which is non-dissipative.

This means that during these intervals, the emission is either emitted close to the saturation radius or in a flow which is laminar. The results further indicate that dissipation below the photosphere is responsible for the spectral shape in a majority of GRB spectra. It is consequently argued that the dominant emission mechanism during the prompt emission phase in GRBs is thermal emission from the jet photosphere at distance of around 1012 cm from the central engine. A small percentage of the bursts are better explained with a non-thermal generating process such as the synchrotron emission.