Gamma-Ray Bursts: Where are We Now?
Author: Meegan, C.
Source: Astrophysics and Space Science, Volume 261, Number 1-4, 1998 , pp. 215-224(10)
Abstract:There has been significant progress recently in our understanding of gamma-ray bursts. The long-sought counterparts at other wavelengths have finally been found for a few bursts. This breakthrough is the result of coordinated observations involving several satellites and ground-based optical and radio observatories. In one case, GRB970508, redshifted absorption lines have been detected, finally settling the debate about the distance scale. The consensus is that the burst sources lie at cosmological distances, requiring at least ∼ 10^51 ergs to be emitted in gamma rays in just a few seconds. The gamma radiation is thought to be produced by shocks in a highly relativistic fireball. Many mysteries remain. There is no consensus on the nature of the sources, although coalescing neutron stars are the leading candidate. There is evidence that the sources of the faintest bursts may be at redshifts above 2. If so, gamma-ray bursts may ultimately tell us something about the early Universe.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville AL 35812
Publication date: 1998