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Gamma-ray bursts as the death throes of massive binary stars
Narayan, Ramesh; Paczynski, Bohdan; Piran, Tsvi
AA(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA), AB(Princeton University Observatory, NJ), AC(Jerusalem, Hebrew University, Israel; Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 2 - Letters (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 395, no. 2, Aug. 20, 1992, p. L83-L86. (ApJL Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Binary Stars, Black Holes (Astronomy), Gamma Ray Bursts, Massive Stars, Neutron Stars, Computational Astrophysics, Electron-Positron Pairs, Gravitational Waves, Neutrinos, Stellar Magnetic Fields, Stellar Models
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We propose that gamma-ray bursts are created in the mergers of double neutron star binaries and black hole neutron star binaries at cosmological distances. Two different processes provide the electromagnetic energy for the bursts: neutrino-antineutrino annihilation into electron-position pairs during the merger, and magnetic flares generated by the Parker instability in a postmerger differentially rotating disk. In both cases, an optically thick fireball of size less than or approximately equal to 100 km is initially created, which expands ultrarelativistically to large radii before radiating. The scenario is only qualitative at this time, but it eliminates many previous objections to the cosmological merger model. The strongest bursts should be found close to, but not at the centers of, galaxies at redshifts of order 0.1, and should be accompanied by bursts of gravitational radiation from the spiraling-in binary which could be detected by LIGO.

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