The giant X-ray flare of GRB 050502B: Evidence for late- time internal engine activity

A. D. Falcone, D. N. Burrows, D. Lazzati, S. Campana, S. Kobayashi, B. Zhang, P. Mészáros, K. L. Page, J. A. Kennea, P. Romano, C. Pagani, L. Angelini, A. P. Beardmore, M. Capalbi, G. Chincarini, G. Cusumano, P. Giommi, M. R. Goad, O. Godet, D. GrupeJ. E. Hill, V. La Parola, V. Mangano, A. Moretti, J. A. Nousek, P. T. O'Brien, J. P. Osborne, M. Perri, G. Tagliaferri, A. A. Wells, N. Gehrels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Until recently, X-ray flares during the afterglow of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) were a rarely detected phenomenon; thus, their nature is unclear. During the afterglow of GRB 050502B, the largest X-ray flare ever recorded rose rapidly above the afterglow light curve detected by the Swift X-Ray Telescope. The peak flux of the flare was >500 times that of the underlying afterglow, and it occurred >12 minutes after the nominal prompt burst emission. The fluence of this X-ray flare, (1.0 ± 0.05) × 10-6 ergs cm-2 in the 0.2-10.0 keV energy band, exceeded the fluence of the nominal prompt burst. The spectra during the flare were significantly harder than those measured before and after the flare. Later in time, there were additional flux increases detected above the underlying afterglow, as well as a break in the afterglow light curve. All evidence presented below, including spectral and, particularly, timing information during and around the giant flare, suggests that this giant flare was the result of internal dissipation of energy due to late central engine activity, rather than an afterglow-related effect. We also find that the data are consistent with a second central engine activity episode, in which the ejecta is moving slower than that of the initial episode, causing the giant flare and then proceeding to overtake and refresh the afterglow shock, thus causing additional activity at even later times in the light curve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1010-1017
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume641
Issue number2 I
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 20 2006

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gamma ray bursts
flares
afterglows
engines
engine
x rays
light curve
ejecta
erg
energy
dissipation
bursts
fluence
energy bands
shock
time measurement
telescopes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Falcone, A. D. ; Burrows, D. N. ; Lazzati, D. ; Campana, S. ; Kobayashi, S. ; Zhang, B. ; Mészáros, P. ; Page, K. L. ; Kennea, J. A. ; Romano, P. ; Pagani, C. ; Angelini, L. ; Beardmore, A. P. ; Capalbi, M. ; Chincarini, G. ; Cusumano, G. ; Giommi, P. ; Goad, M. R. ; Godet, O. ; Grupe, D. ; Hill, J. E. ; La Parola, V. ; Mangano, V. ; Moretti, A. ; Nousek, J. A. ; O'Brien, P. T. ; Osborne, J. P. ; Perri, M. ; Tagliaferri, G. ; Wells, A. A. ; Gehrels, N. / The giant X-ray flare of GRB 050502B : Evidence for late- time internal engine activity. In: Astrophysical Journal. 2006 ; Vol. 641, No. 2 I. pp. 1010-1017.
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abstract = "Until recently, X-ray flares during the afterglow of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) were a rarely detected phenomenon; thus, their nature is unclear. During the afterglow of GRB 050502B, the largest X-ray flare ever recorded rose rapidly above the afterglow light curve detected by the Swift X-Ray Telescope. The peak flux of the flare was >500 times that of the underlying afterglow, and it occurred >12 minutes after the nominal prompt burst emission. The fluence of this X-ray flare, (1.0 ± 0.05) × 10-6 ergs cm-2 in the 0.2-10.0 keV energy band, exceeded the fluence of the nominal prompt burst. The spectra during the flare were significantly harder than those measured before and after the flare. Later in time, there were additional flux increases detected above the underlying afterglow, as well as a break in the afterglow light curve. All evidence presented below, including spectral and, particularly, timing information during and around the giant flare, suggests that this giant flare was the result of internal dissipation of energy due to late central engine activity, rather than an afterglow-related effect. We also find that the data are consistent with a second central engine activity episode, in which the ejecta is moving slower than that of the initial episode, causing the giant flare and then proceeding to overtake and refresh the afterglow shock, thus causing additional activity at even later times in the light curve.",
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Falcone, AD, Burrows, DN, Lazzati, D, Campana, S, Kobayashi, S, Zhang, B, Mészáros, P, Page, KL, Kennea, JA, Romano, P, Pagani, C, Angelini, L, Beardmore, AP, Capalbi, M, Chincarini, G, Cusumano, G, Giommi, P, Goad, MR, Godet, O, Grupe, D, Hill, JE, La Parola, V, Mangano, V, Moretti, A, Nousek, JA, O'Brien, PT, Osborne, JP, Perri, M, Tagliaferri, G, Wells, AA & Gehrels, N 2006, 'The giant X-ray flare of GRB 050502B: Evidence for late- time internal engine activity', Astrophysical Journal, vol. 641, no. 2 I, pp. 1010-1017. https://doi.org/10.1086/500655

The giant X-ray flare of GRB 050502B : Evidence for late- time internal engine activity. / Falcone, A. D.; Burrows, D. N.; Lazzati, D.; Campana, S.; Kobayashi, S.; Zhang, B.; Mészáros, P.; Page, K. L.; Kennea, J. A.; Romano, P.; Pagani, C.; Angelini, L.; Beardmore, A. P.; Capalbi, M.; Chincarini, G.; Cusumano, G.; Giommi, P.; Goad, M. R.; Godet, O.; Grupe, D.; Hill, J. E.; La Parola, V.; Mangano, V.; Moretti, A.; Nousek, J. A.; O'Brien, P. T.; Osborne, J. P.; Perri, M.; Tagliaferri, G.; Wells, A. A.; Gehrels, N.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 641, No. 2 I, 20.04.2006, p. 1010-1017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The giant X-ray flare of GRB 050502B

T2 - Evidence for late- time internal engine activity

AU - Falcone, A. D.

AU - Burrows, D. N.

AU - Lazzati, D.

AU - Campana, S.

AU - Kobayashi, S.

AU - Zhang, B.

AU - Mészáros, P.

AU - Page, K. L.

AU - Kennea, J. A.

AU - Romano, P.

AU - Pagani, C.

AU - Angelini, L.

AU - Beardmore, A. P.

AU - Capalbi, M.

AU - Chincarini, G.

AU - Cusumano, G.

AU - Giommi, P.

AU - Goad, M. R.

AU - Godet, O.

AU - Grupe, D.

AU - Hill, J. E.

AU - La Parola, V.

AU - Mangano, V.

AU - Moretti, A.

AU - Nousek, J. A.

AU - O'Brien, P. T.

AU - Osborne, J. P.

AU - Perri, M.

AU - Tagliaferri, G.

AU - Wells, A. A.

AU - Gehrels, N.

PY - 2006/4/20

Y1 - 2006/4/20

N2 - Until recently, X-ray flares during the afterglow of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) were a rarely detected phenomenon; thus, their nature is unclear. During the afterglow of GRB 050502B, the largest X-ray flare ever recorded rose rapidly above the afterglow light curve detected by the Swift X-Ray Telescope. The peak flux of the flare was >500 times that of the underlying afterglow, and it occurred >12 minutes after the nominal prompt burst emission. The fluence of this X-ray flare, (1.0 ± 0.05) × 10-6 ergs cm-2 in the 0.2-10.0 keV energy band, exceeded the fluence of the nominal prompt burst. The spectra during the flare were significantly harder than those measured before and after the flare. Later in time, there were additional flux increases detected above the underlying afterglow, as well as a break in the afterglow light curve. All evidence presented below, including spectral and, particularly, timing information during and around the giant flare, suggests that this giant flare was the result of internal dissipation of energy due to late central engine activity, rather than an afterglow-related effect. We also find that the data are consistent with a second central engine activity episode, in which the ejecta is moving slower than that of the initial episode, causing the giant flare and then proceeding to overtake and refresh the afterglow shock, thus causing additional activity at even later times in the light curve.

AB - Until recently, X-ray flares during the afterglow of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) were a rarely detected phenomenon; thus, their nature is unclear. During the afterglow of GRB 050502B, the largest X-ray flare ever recorded rose rapidly above the afterglow light curve detected by the Swift X-Ray Telescope. The peak flux of the flare was >500 times that of the underlying afterglow, and it occurred >12 minutes after the nominal prompt burst emission. The fluence of this X-ray flare, (1.0 ± 0.05) × 10-6 ergs cm-2 in the 0.2-10.0 keV energy band, exceeded the fluence of the nominal prompt burst. The spectra during the flare were significantly harder than those measured before and after the flare. Later in time, there were additional flux increases detected above the underlying afterglow, as well as a break in the afterglow light curve. All evidence presented below, including spectral and, particularly, timing information during and around the giant flare, suggests that this giant flare was the result of internal dissipation of energy due to late central engine activity, rather than an afterglow-related effect. We also find that the data are consistent with a second central engine activity episode, in which the ejecta is moving slower than that of the initial episode, causing the giant flare and then proceeding to overtake and refresh the afterglow shock, thus causing additional activity at even later times in the light curve.

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