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Lecture: About Gamma-Ray Bursts And Boats

What We (Don't) Know About the Most Energetic Events in the Universe

In October 2022 a gamma-ray burst dubbed the 'Brightest Of All Times' smashed records. But what is that actually, a gamma-ray burst? How do we detect it? And why was the BOAT so special?

Gamma-ray bursts are the biggest explosions in our Universe since the Big Bang: In just a few seconds, they release as much energy as the Sun will radiate over its entire lifetime. Even though they occur in far-away galaxies, their emission dominates the high-energy astrophysical sky during their seconds-long duration. They come from the cataclysmic deaths of very massive stars or the mergers of two compact objects such as neutron stars and black holes. In both cases the energy is concentrated in an astrophysical jet moving at approximately the speed of light.
In October 2022, a once-in-a-lifetime gamma-ray burst smashed records and was dubbed the ‘Brightest of All Time,’ or the BOAT. In fact, it was so bright that it oversaturated the most sensitive gamma-ray burst monitors, posing a challenge for data reconstruction and analysis. But why was it so bright? And how long do we have to wait until the next one?

Using the BOAT as an example, we will give an introduction about the fascinating phenomena called gamma-ray bursts. From their accidental discovery during the Cold War to our still surprisingly limited understanding of their nature. The talk will revisit the state-of-the-art of theoretical modelling/interpretations (how are jets launched? what produces the gamma rays?), as well as current detector techniques (how do we catch a gamma-ray photon on Earth or in space?). Naturally, we will also discuss what we really learn from prominent, outstanding events such as the BOAT -- and the questions that still give scientists headaches.
**** Literature References/Further Reading ****

[R1] Vela 4 satellites​
[R2] First GRB publication Klebesadel et al 1973​
[R3] Statistical test of isotropy on BATSE sample ​
[R4] First afterglow ​
[R5] First redshift measurement ​
[R6] Gravitational waves NS-NS GW170817 and short GRB 170817A ​
[R7] Possible evolutions of a compact binary merger and assigned GW signals​
[R8] A unified picture for compact binary mergers ​
[R9] Properties of Wolf-Rayet stars​
[R10] Blandford-Znajek mechanism for jet launching, original paper and short summary ​
[R11] GR-MHD simulation of NS-NS merger jet ​
[R12] GR-MHD simulation of collapsar jet ​
[R13] Fermi acceleration at astrophysical shocks confirmed by numerical simulations ​
[R14] Numerical simulations of acceleration in magnetic reconnection ​
[R15] Summary paper for current status of prompt phase GRB ​
[R16] Basic afterglow theory from a decelerating blastwave ​
[R17] Design example of optical telescope​
[R18] Fermi GBM design ​
[R19] Fermi LAT summary ​
[R20] LHAASO instrument and science ​
[R21] GCN of GRB 221009A + TeVCat;id=364 ​
[R22] Fermi-GBM Pulse Pileup reconstruction​
[R23] The BOAT in context with other events​
[R24] Swift paper on the BOAT ​
[R25] A structured jet explains the BOAT (open access version of science article) ​
[R26] LHAASO reports TeV emission from narrow jet (open access version of science article)​
[R27] LHAASO extra component at the highest energies ​
[R28] The BOAT high-energy emission explained by beyond the standard model physics ​

***** Image References *****
[IM1] 123RF​
[IM3] Bonnell 1995​
[IM5] D. Perley, Wikimedia Commons​
[IM8] E. Costa et al., Nature, Vol. 387, Issue 6635, pg. 783-785 (1997). ​
[IM9] ​
[IM10] Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory​
[IM14] Edo Berger (Harvard/CfA)​
[IM15] NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center​
[IM16] BATSE team​
[IM17] iStock​
[IM20] Ore Gottlieb ​
[IM21] Ore Gottlieb ​
[IM22] NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J.Warren & J.Hughes et al ​
[IM23] NorthNorth West​
[IM26] C. Meegan et al., ApJ, Vol. 702, Issue 1, pg. 791-804 (2009)​
[IM27] NASA,​
[IM28] W. B. Atwood et al., ApJ Vol. 697, pg. 1071 (2009)​
[IM29] NASA,​
[IM30] NASA and Steven Ritz / UC Santa Cruz​
[IM31] J. Knapp​
[IM32] Armelle Jardin-Blicq,​
[IM34] ​
[IM35] ​
[IM36-IM38] Adam Goldstein, Fermi-GBM​
[IM39] V. Chaplin et al., NIM-A, Vol. 717, pg. 21-36 ​
[IM40] C. Meegan et al., ApJ, Vol. 702, Issue 1, pg. 791-804 (2009)​
[IM41 & IM43] Maia A. Williams et al 2023 ApJL 946 L24 ​
[IM42 & IM44] Eric Burns et al 2023 ApJL 946 L31​
[IM45] LHAASO collaboration Science 380 (2023) 6652​
[IM46] LHAASO collaboration Sci.Adv. 9 (2023) 46, adj2778


Day: 2023-12-29
Start time: 16:00
Duration: 01:00
Room: Saal Granville
Track: Science
Language: en




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