The long gamma-ray burst GRB 060714 was observed to exhibit a series of five X-ray flares beginning ∼70 s after the burst trigger T0 and continuing until ∼T0 + 200 s. The first two flares were detected by the Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) on the Swift satellite, before Swift had slewed to the burst location, while the last three flares were strongly detected by the X-Ray Telescope (XRT) but only weakly detected by the BAT. This burst provides an unusual opportunity to track a complete sequence of flares over a wide energy range. The flares were very similar in their light curve morphology, showing power-law rise and fall components, and in most cases significant substructure. The flares also showed strong evolution with time, both spectrally and temporally. The small timescale and large amplitude variability observed are incompatible with an external shock origin for the flares, and support instead late-time sporadic activity either of the central source or of localized dissipation events within the outflow. We show that the flares in GRB 060714 cannot be the result of internal shocks in which the contrast in the Lorentz factor of the colliding shells is very small, and that this mechanism faces serious difficulties in most Swift GRBs. The morphological similarity of the flares and the prompt emission and the gradual and continual evolution of the flares with time makes it difficult and arbitrary to draw a dividing line between the prompt emission and the flares.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science