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The Flat Decay Phase in the Early X-Ray Afterglows of Swift GRBs

Description: Many Swift GRBs show an early phase of shallow decay in their X-ray afterglows, lasting from t {approx} 10{sup 2.5} s to {approx} 10{sup 4} s after the GRB, where the flux decays as {approx} t{sup -0.2} - t{sup -0.8}. This is perhaps the most mysterious of the new features discovered by Swift in the early X-ray afterglow, since it is still not clear what causes it. I discuss different possible explanations for this surprising new discovery, as well as their potential implications for the gamma-ray efficiency, the afterglow kinetic energy, and perhaps even for the physics of collisionless relativistic shocks.
Date: March 27, 2007
Creator: Granot, Jonathan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department