Title

Transition From Fireball To Poynting-flux-dominated Outflow In The Three-episode Grb 160625b

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2018

Publication Title

Nature Astronomy

Publisher

Nature Publishing Group

Volume

2

Issue

1

First page number:

69

Last page number:

75

Abstract

The ejecta composition is an open question in gamma-ray burst (GRB) physics 1 . Some GRBs possess a quasi-thermal spectral component in the time-resolved spectral analysis 2, suggesting a hot fireball origin. Others show a featureless non-thermal spectrum known as the Band function 3-5, consistent with a synchrotron radiation origin 5,6 and suggesting that the jet is Poynting-flux dominated at the central engine and probably in the emission region as well 7,8 . There are also bursts showing a sub-dominant thermal component and a dominant synchrotron component 9, suggesting a probable hybrid jet composition 10 . Here, we report an extraordinarily bright GRB 160625B, simultaneously observed in gamma-ray and optical wavelengths, whose prompt emission consists of three isolated episodes separated by long quiescent intervals, with the durations of each sub-burst being approximately 0.8 s, 35 s and 212 s, respectively. Its high brightness (with isotropic peak luminosity L p,iso ≈ 4 × 1053 erg s-1) allows us to conduct detailed time-resolved spectral analysis in each episode, from precursor to main burst and to extended emission. The spectral properties of the first two sub-bursts are distinctly different, allowing us to observe the transition from thermal to non-thermal radiation between well-separated emission episodes within a single GRB. Such a transition is a clear indication of the change of jet composition from a fireball to a Poynting-flux-dominated jet. © 2017 The Author(s).

Language

English

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