Collision-Induced Magnetic Reconnection and a Unified Interpretation of Polarization Properties of GRBs and Blazars

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The jet composition and energy dissipation mechanism of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and blazars are fundamental questions that remain not fully understood. One plausible model is to interpret the γ-ray emission of GRBs and optical emission of blazars as synchrotron radiation of electrons accelerated from the collision-induced magnetic dissipation regions in Poynting-flux-dominated jets. The polarization observation is an important and independent information to test this model. Based on our recent 3D relativistic MHD simulations of collision-induced magnetic dissipation of magnetically dominated blobs, here we perform calculations of the polarization properties of the emission in the dissipation region and apply the results to model the polarization observational data of GRB prompt emission and blazar optical emission. We show that the same numerical model with different input parameters can reproduce well the observational data of both GRBs and blazars, especially the 90° polarization angle (PA) change in GRB 100826A and the 180° PA swing in blazar 3C279. This supports a unified model for GRB and blazar jets, suggesting that collision-induced magnetic reconnection is a common physical mechanism to power the relativistic jet emission from events with very different black hole masses. © 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.