- Signatures of magnetar central engines in short GRB light curves
- Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Volume | Issue number
- 430 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
A significant fraction of the long gamma-ray bursts (LGRBs) in the Swift sample have a plateau phase showing evidence of ongoing energy injection. We suggest that many short gamma-ray bursts (SGRBs) detected by the Swift satellite also show evidence of energy injection. Explaining this observation within the typical SGRB progenitor model is challenging as late time accretion, often used to explain plateaus in LGRBs, is likely to be absent from the SGRB population. Alternatively, it is predicted that the remnant of neutron star-neutron star mergers may not collapse immediately to a black hole (or even collapse at all), forming instead an unstable millisecond pulsar (magnetar) which powers a plateau phase in the X-ray light curve.
By fitting the magnetar model to all of the Swift SGRBs observed until 2012 May, we find that about half can be clearly fitted with a magnetar plateau phase while the rest are consistent with forming a magnetar but the data are insufficient to prove a plateau phase. More data, both at early times and a larger sample, are required to confirm this. This model can be tested by detecting the gravitational wave emission from events using the next generation gravitational wave observatories.
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