Title

Central Engine Memory of Gamma-Ray Bursts and Soft Gamma-Ray Repeaters

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are bursts of γ-rays generated from relativistic jets launched from catastrophic events such as massive star core collapse or binary compact star coalescence. Previous studies suggested that GRB emission is erratic, with no noticeable memory in the central engine. Here we report a discovery that similar light curve patterns exist within individual bursts for at least some GRBs. Applying the Dynamic Time Warping method, we show that similarity of light curve patterns between pulses of a single burst or between the light curves of a GRB and its X-ray flare can be identified. This suggests that the central engine of at least some GRBs carries "memory" of its activities. We also show that the same technique can identify memory-like emission episodes in the flaring emission in soft gamma-ray repeaters (SGRs), which are believed to be Galactic, highly magnetized neutron stars named magnetars. Such a phenomenon challenges the standard black hole central engine models for GRBs, and suggest a common physical mechanism behind GRBs and SGRs, which points toward a magnetar central engine of GRBs. © 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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