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Teraelectronvolt emission from the $\gamma$-ray burst GRB 190114C

MAGIC Collaboration , Acciari V. A., Ansoldi S., Antonelli L. A., Engels A. Arbet, Baack D., Babi? A., Banerjee B., de Almeida U. Barres, Barrio J. A.
12 Jun 2020 astro-ph.HE arxiv.org/abs/2006.07249

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) of the long-duration class are the most luminous sources of electromagnetic radiation known in the Universe. They are generated by outflows of plasma ejected at near the speed of light by newly formed neutron stars or black holes of stellar mass at cosmological distances. Prompt flashes of MeV gamma rays are followed by longer-lasting afterglow emission from radio waves to GeV gamma rays, due to synchrotron radiation by energetic electrons in accompanying shock waves. Although emission of gamma rays at even higher, TeV energies by other radiation mechanisms had been theoretically predicted, it had never been detected previously. Here we report the clear detection of GRB 190114C in the TeV band, achieved after many years of dedicated searches for TeV emission from GRBs. Gamma rays in the energy range 0.2--1 TeV are observed from about 1 minute after the burst (at more than 50 standard deviations in the first 20 minutes). This unambiguously reveals a new emission component in the afterglow of a GRB, whose power is comparable to that of the synchrotron component. The observed similarity in the radiated power and temporal behaviour of the TeV and X-ray bands points to processes such as inverse Compton radiation as the mechanism of the TeV emission, while processes such as synchrotron emission by ultrahigh-energy protons are disfavoured due to their low radiative efficiency.

Observation of inverse Compton emission from a long $\gamma$-ray burst

Acciari V. A., Ansoldi S., Antonelli L. A., Engels A. Arbet, Baack D., Babi? A., Banerjee B., de Almeida U. Barres, Barrio J. A.,
12 Jun 2020 astro-ph.HE arxiv.org/abs/2006.07251

Long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) originate from ultra-relativistic jets launched from the collapsing cores of dying massive stars. They are characterised by an initial phase of bright and highly variable radiation in the keV-MeV band that is likely produced within the jet and lasts from milliseconds to minutes, known as the prompt emission. Subsequently, the interaction of the jet with the external medium generates external shock waves, responsible for the afterglow emission, which lasts from days to months, and occurs over a broad energy range, from the radio to the GeV bands. The afterglow emission is generally well explained as synchrotron radiation by electrons accelerated at the external shock. Recently, an intense, long-lasting emission between 0.2 and 1 TeV was observed from the GRB 190114C. Here we present the results of our multi-frequency observational campaign of GRB~190114C, and study the evolution in time of the GRB emission across 17 orders of magnitude in energy, from $5\times10^{-6}$ up to $10^{12}$\,eV. We find that the broadband spectral energy distribution is double-peaked, with the TeV emission constituting a distinct spectral component that has power comparable to the synchrotron component. This component is associated with the afterglow, and is satisfactorily explained by inverse Compton upscattering of synchrotron photons by high-energy electrons. We find that the conditions required to account for the observed TeV component are not atypical, supporting the possibility that inverse Compton emission is commonly produced in GRBs.

Bounds on Lorentz invariance violation from MAGIC observation of GRB 190114C

MAGIC Collaboration , Acciari V. A., Ansoldi S., Antonelli L. A., Engels A. Arbet, Baack D., Babi? A., Banerjee B., de Almeida U. Barres, Barrio J. A.
27 Jan 2020 astro-ph.HE arxiv.org/abs/2001.09728

On January 14, 2019, the Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov telescopes detected GRB 190114C above 0.2 TeV, recording the most energetic photons ever observed from a gamma-ray burst. We use this unique observation to probe an energy dependence of the speed of light in vacuo for photons as predicted by several quantum gravity models. Based on a set of assumptions on the possible intrinsic spectral and temporal evolution, we obtain competitive lower limits on the quadratic leading order of speed of light modification.

Proton-synchrotron as the radiation mechanism of the prompt emission of GRBs?

Ghisellini G., Ghirlanda G., Oganesyan G., Ascenzi S., Nava L., Celotti A., Salafia O. S., Ravasio E. M., Ronchi M.
04 Dec 2019 astro-ph.HE arxiv.org/abs/1912.02185

We discuss the new surprising observational results that indicate quite convincingly that the prompt emission of Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) is due to synchrotron radiation produced by a particle distribution that has a low energy cut-off. The evidence of this is provided by the low energy part of the spectrum of the prompt emission, that shows the characteristic F(nu) \propto nu^(1/3) shape followed by F(nu) \propto nu^(-1/2) up to the peak frequency. This implies that although the emitting particles are in fast cooling, they do not cool completely. This poses a severe challenge to the basic ideas about how and where the emission is produced, because the incomplete cooling requires a small value of the magnetic field, to limit synchrotron cooling, and a large emitting region, to limit the self-Compton cooling, even considering Klein-Nishina scattering effects. Some new and fundamental ingredient is required for understanding the GRBs prompt emission. We propose proton-synchrotron as a promising mechanism to solve the incomplete cooling puzzle.

The rise and fall of the high-energy afterglow emission of GRB 180720B

Ronchi M., Fumagalli F., Ravasio M. E., Oganesyan G., Toffano M., Salafia O. S., Nava L., Ascenzi S., Ghirlanda G., Ghisellini G.
23 Sep 2019 astro-ph.HE arxiv.org/abs/1909.10531

The Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) 180720B is one of the brightest events detected by the Fermi satellite and the first GRB detected by the H.E.S.S. telescope above 100 GeV. We analyse the Fermi (GBM and LAT) and Swift (XRT and BAT) data and describe the evolution of the burst spectral energy distribution in the 0.5 keV - 10 GeV energy range over the first 500 seconds of emission. We reveal a smooth transition from the prompt phase, dominated by synchrotron emission in a moderately fast cooling regime, to the afterglow phase whose emission has been observed from the radio to the GeV energy range. The LAT (0.1 - 100 GeV) light curve initially rises ($F_{\rm LAT}\propto t^{2.4}$), peaks at $\sim$78 s, and falls steeply ($F_{\rm LAT}\propto t^{-2.2}$) afterwards. The peak, which we interpret as the onset of the fireball deceleration, allows us to estimate the bulk Lorentz factor $\Gamma_{0}\sim 150 \ (300)$ under the assumption of a wind-like (homogeneous) circum-burst medium density. We derive a flux upper limit in the LAT energy range at the time of H.E.S.S. detection, but this does not allow us to unveil the nature of the high energy component observed by H.E.S.S. We fit the prompt spectrum with a physical model of synchrotron emission from a non-thermal population of electrons. The 0 - 35 s spectrum after its $E F(E)$ peak (at 1 - 2 MeV) is a steep power law extending to hundreds of MeV. We derive a steep slope of the injected electron energy distribution $N(\gamma)\propto \gamma^{-5}$. Our fit parameters point towards a very low magnetic field ($B'\sim 1 $ G) in the emission region.

X-ray absorbing column densities of a complete sample of short Gamma Ray Bursts

Asquini L., Campana S., D'Avanzo P., Bernardini M. G., Covino S., Ghirlanda G., Ghisellini G., Melandri A., Nava L., Salafia O. S.
21 Mar 2019 astro-ph.HE arxiv.org/abs/1903.09041

We update a flux-limited complete sample of Swift-based SGRBs (SBAT4, D'Avanzo et al. 2014), bringing it to 25 events and doubling its previous redshift range. We then evaluate the column densities of the events in the updated sample, in order to compare them with the NH distribution of LGRBs, using the sample BAT6ext (Arcodia et al. 2016). We rely on Monte Carlo simulations of the two populations and compare the computed NH distributions with a two sample Kolmogorov Smirnov (K-S) test. We then study how the K-S probability varies with respect to the redshift range we consider. We find that the K-S probability keeps decreasing as redshift increases until at z$\sim$1.8 the probability that short and long GRBs come from the same parent distribution drops below 1$\%$. This testifies for an observational difference among the two populations. This difference may be due to the presence of highly absorbed LGRBs above z$\sim$1.3, which have not been observed in the SGRB sample yet, although this may be due to our inability to detect them, or to the relatively small sample size.

Non-linear diffusion of cosmic rays escaping from supernova remnants - II. Hot ionized media

Nava L., Recchia S., Gabici S., Marcowith A., Brahimi L., Ptuskin V.
07 Mar 2019 astro-ph.HE arxiv.org/abs/1903.03193

We study the problem of the escape and transport of Cosmic-Rays (CR) from a source embedded in a fully ionised, hot phase of the interstellar medium (HIM). In particular, we model the CR escape and their propagation in the source vicinity taking into account excitation of Alfv\'enic turbulence by CR streaming and mechanisms damping the self-excited turbulence itself. Our estimates of escape radii and times result in large values (100 pc, $2\times10^5$ yr) for particle energies $\lesssim20$ GeV and smaller values for particles with increasing energies (35 pc and 14 kyr at 1 TeV). These escape times and radii, when used as initial conditions for the CR propagation outside the source, result in relevant suppression of the diffusion coefficient (by a factor 5-10) on time-scales comparable with their (energy dependent) escape time-scale. The damping mechanisms are fast enough that even on shorter time scales the Alfv\'enic turbulence is efficiently damped, and the ratio between random and ordered component of the magnetic field is $\delta B/B_0\ll 1$, justifying the use of quasi-linear theory. In spite of the suppressed diffusion coefficient, and then the increased residence time in the vicinity (<200 pc) of their source, the grammage accumulated by CRs after their escape is found to be negligible (at all energies) as compared to the one accumulated while diffusing in the whole Galaxy, due to the low density of the HIM.

Evidence of two spectral breaks in the prompt emission of gamma ray bursts

Ravasio M. E., Ghirlanda G., Nava L., Ghisellini G.
06 Mar 2019 astro-ph.HE arxiv.org/abs/1903.02555

The long-lasting tension between the observed spectra of gamma ray bursts (GRBs) and the predicted synchrotron emission spectrum might be solved if electrons do not completely cool. Evidence for incomplete cooling was recently found in Swift GRBs with prompt observations down to 0.1 keV and in one bright Fermi burst, GRB 160625B. Here we systematically search for evidence of incomplete cooling in the spectra of the ten brightest short and long GRBs observed by Fermi. We find that in 8/10 long GRBs there is compelling evidence of a low energy break (below the peak energy) and good agreement with the photon indices of the synchrotron spectrum (respectively -2/3 and -3/2 below the break and between the break and the peak energy). Interestingly, none of the ten short GRBs analysed shows a break but the low energy spectral slope is consistent with -2/3. In a standard scenario, these results imply a very low magnetic field in the emission region (B' ~ 10 G in the comoving frame), at odd with expectations.

Compact radio emission indicates a structured jet was produced by a binary neutron star merger

Ghirlanda G., Salafia O. S., Paragi Z., Giroletti M., Yang J., Marcote B., Blanchard J., Agudo I., An T., Bernardini M. G.
01 Aug 2018 astro-ph.HE arxiv.org/abs/1808.00469

The binary neutron star merger event GW170817 was detected through both electromagnetic radiation and gravitational waves. Its afterglow emission may have been produced by either a narrow relativistic jet or an isotropic outflow. High spatial resolution measurements of the source size and displacement can discriminate between these scenarios. We present Very Long Baseline Interferometry observations, performed 207.4 days after the merger, using a global network of 32 radio telescopes. The apparent source size is constrained to be smaller than 2.5 milliarcseconds at the 90% confidence level. This excludes the isotropic outflow scenario, which would have produced a larger apparent size, indicating that GW170817 produced a structured relativistic jet. Our rate calculations show that at least 10% of neutron star mergers produce such a jet.

The evolution of the X-ray afterglow emission of GW 170817 / GRB 170817A in XMM-Newton observations

D'Avanzo P., Campana S., Salafia O. S., Ghirlanda G., Ghisellini G., Melandri A., Bernardini M. G., Branchesi M., Chassande-Mottin E., Covino S.
18 Jan 2018 astro-ph.HE arxiv.org/abs/1801.06164

We report our observation of the short GRB 170817A, associated to the binary neutron star merger event GW 170817, perfomed in the X-ray band with XMM-Newton 135 d after the event (on the 29th December 2017). We find evidence for a flattening of the X-ray light curve with respect to the previously observed brightening. This is also supported by a nearly simultaneous optical Hubble Space Telescope and successive X-ray Chandra and low-frequency radio observations recently reported in the literature. Since the optical-to-X-ray spectral slope did not change with respect to previous observations, we exclude that the change in the temporal evolution of the light curve is due to the passage of the cooling frequency: its origin must be geometric or dynamical. We interpret all the existing afterglow data with two models: i) a structured jet and ii) a jet-less isotropic fireball with some stratification in its radial velocity structure. Both models fit the data and predict that the radio flux must decrease simultaneously with the optical and the X-ray one, making hard to distinguish between them at the present stage. Polarimetric measures and the rate of short GRB-GW association in future LIGO/Virgo runs will be key to disentangle these two geometrically different scenarios.