Presentation #327.04 in the session “Gamma Ray Bursts II”.
Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), which are associated with the deaths of massive stars or the collisions of compact objects, are the most luminous events in our universe. However, there is still a lot to learn about the nature of these objects’ jets and how these events produce electromagnetic emission. The afterglow from GRBs—delayed emission in the X-ray, optical, and radio caused by the deceleration of the jet front—provides a glimpse into the jet structure and energetics. In this project, we examine how the jet structure—that is, its energy and velocity distribution as a function of angle—and other physical parameters affect the observed afterglow light curves. Using the Python package afterglowpy, we present a collection of afterglow light curves arising from not only standard Gaussian and power-law jets, but also more realistic and complicated jet structures. We then compare these light curves to afterglow observations to analyze the effect of jet structures on GRBs. This has important implications for understanding the electromagnetic emission coincident with gravitational waves and the progenitors of LIGO sources.