- Are the missing X-ray breaks in gamma-ray burst afterglow light curves merely hidden?
- Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Volume | Issue number
- 386 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
Gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglow observations in the Swift era have a perceived lack of achromatic jet breaks compared to the BeppoSAX or pre-Swift era. Specifically, relatively few breaks, consistent with jet breaks, are observed in the X-ray light curves of these bursts. If these breaks are truly missing, it has serious consequences on the interpretation of GRB jet collimation and energy requirements, and the use of GRBs as cosmological tools. Here, we address the issue of X-ray breaks that are possibly 'hidden' and hence the light curves are misinterpreted as being single power laws. We do so by synthesizing X-ray telescope (XRT) light curves and fitting both single and broken power laws, and comparing the relative goodness of each fit via Monte Carlo analysis. Even with the well-sampled light curves of the Swift era, these breaks may be left misidentified, hence caution is required when making definite statements on the absence of achromatic breaks.
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