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Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2007 May 15;365(1854):1151-62.

Gamma-ray burst theory after Swift.

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The Racah Institute of Physics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.


Afterglow observations in the pre-Swift era confirmed to a large extend the relativistic blast wave model for gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Together with the observations of properties of host galaxies and the association with (type Ic) SNe, this has led to the generally accepted collapsar origin of long GRBs. However, most of the afterglow data was collected hours after the burst. The X-ray telescope and the UV/optical telescope onboard Swift are able to slew to the direction of a burst in real time and record the early broadband afterglow light curves. These observations, and in particular the X-ray observations, resulted in many surprises. While we have anticipated a smooth transition from the prompt emission to the afterglow, many observed that early light curves are drastically different. We review here how these observations are changing our understanding of GRBs.


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