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Post Info TOPIC: GRB050724


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GRB 050724

The black hole may have first stretched the dense neutron star into a crescent and broke off pieces in the process. The black hole could have then swallowed the star largely in one gulp, feeding on the broken off pieces in the minutes and hours that followed.

If GRB 050724 were a neutron star merger, according to current models, there would not be many pieces falling into a black hole later. The two objects would smash, instantly form a black hole, and after a modest afterglow no more light would be seen. Similarly, two black holes would smash and release very little residual light. But GRB 050724 had a long, flaring afterglow.
Smaller flares of X-ray light and optical light, detected in the first tens of seconds after GRB 050724, could have resulted from pieces of the neutron star falling into the black hole. Flares occurring later might be from magnetized pieces of gas, which would behave differently.
Supporting this merger scenario is the fact that the GRB 050724 burst took place in the outskirts of an old, elliptical galaxy filled with neutron stars and black holes.

"There's only one thing I know of that could rip apart a neutron star with bits flying out, and that's a black hole. Now we have the first evidence that this might actually be occurring" - Prof. Peter Meszaros , Penn State University.



Posts: 131433

An international team of astronomers reports the discovery of a third short gamma-ray burst (GBR) type, associated with a nearby elliptical galaxy. The low level of star formation in such galaxies and the detection of a second long-lasting flare indicate that this gamma-ray burst is most likely the final scream of a neutron star as it is being devoured by a black hole.

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), the most powerful type of explosion known in the Universe, come in two different flavours, long and short ones. Over the past few years, international efforts have shown that long gamma-ray bursts are linked with the ultimate explosion of massive stars (hypernovae).
Very recently, the observations by different teams - including the GRACE and MISTICI collaborations that use ESO's telescopes - of the afterglows of two short gamma-ray bursts provided the first conclusive evidence that this class of objects originates most likely from the collision of compact objects, neutron stars or black holes.

On July 24, 2005, the Swift satellite detected another short gamma-ray burst, GRB 050724. Subsequent observations, including some with the ESO Very Large Telescope, allowed astronomers to precisely pinpoint the position of the object, lying about 13,000 light-years away from the centre of an elliptical galaxy that is located 3,000 million light-years away (redshift 0.258).

VLT optical image taken on July 24, 12 hours after the burst, showing the position of the gamma-ray burst GRB 050724 as measured by the Swift X-Ray Telescope (XRT) and the Chandra X-ray satellite. The blue cross is the position of the optical afterglow. The burst positions are superimposed on a bright red galaxy at redshift z=0.258.

Difference between two VLT images taken on July 24 and 29, clearly revealing the presence of the GRB.
Position(2000): RA = 16:24:44.37 Dec = -27:32:27.50

"From its characteristics, we infer that this galaxy contains only very old stars. This is similar to the host galaxy of the previous short GRB which could be precisely localised, GRB 050509B, and very different from host galaxies of long bursts" - Guido Chincarini (INAF-Brera and Milan University, Italy), co-author of the paper presenting the results.

These observations thereby confirm that the parent populations and consequently the mechanisms for short and long GRBs are different in significant ways. The most likely scenario for short GRBs is now the merger of two compact objects.
The observations also show this short burst has released between 100 and 1000 less energy than typical long GRBs.

"The burst itself was followed after about 200-300 seconds by another, less-energetic flare. It is unlikely that this can be produced by the merger of two neutron stars. We therefore conclude that the most probable scenario for the origin of this burst is the collision of a neutron star with a black hole" - Sergio Campana (INAF-Brera), co-author of the paper.

In the case of a merger between a neutron star and a black hole, the neutron star may be only partially disrupted in the initial plunge. The remainder may orbit the black hole, transferring mass at closest approach ("periastron"), until the neutron star mass is reduced to less than 2 tenths of the mass of the sun, where it expands to disruption. The activity may thus extend over few tens of seconds, unlike the case of a merging between two neutron stars.

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