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Multi-wavelength observations of gamma-ray bursts and instrument developement


Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) are extraordinary sources. A typical GRB occurs in a star-forming galaxy at a redshift ~1. There is proof that at least some GRBs are caused by the collapse of a massive star when the supply of nuclear fuel has been exhausted. The merger of compact objects may also produce GRBs. In either case the progenitor produces a black hole and an accretion disk. In this configuration the energy can be extracted and accelerates a fireball of matter to ultra-relativistic velocities. Photons are produce via synchrotron radiation or inverse Compton emission. In our frame the radiation is primarily in gamma-rays and lasts for about 30 seconds and has an isotropic energy of ~10^53 ergs. There is evidence that the radiation is strongly beamed into a n opening angle of a few degrees, which reduces the total energy. The expanding shells interact with the medium to produce external shocks, which give rise to long-lived afterglow in the X-ray, optical, infrared and radio bands, which may be detected for d ays to months after the GRB. The aim of this proposal is to provide training for the applicant by carrying out leading edge research in the exciting, cutting edge field of GRBs in the Gamma-ray Group at MPE. There are three main training and research aims. The first aspect is to work on GRB spectra, polarization on active missions particularly INTEGRAL. MPE has extensive involvement on the SPI instrument on INTEGRAL. The group also has extensive experience in gamma-ray astronomy and instrumentation. The sec ond aspect is to be involved in the GLAST Burst Monitor. The host institutes is a major contributor to this instrument and are leading experts. The GBM will be launched on the GLAST mission. The final aspect involves the GROND camera, a seven-colour camera due to operate at ESO. Training in multi-wavelength observations and analysis is invaluable to any astrophysicist.

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