We calculate the radial surface brightness profile of the image of a gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglow. The afterglow spectrum consists of several power-law segments separated by breaks. The image profile changes considerably across each of the spectral breaks. It also depends on the density profile of the ambient medium into which the GRB fireball propagates. Gravitational microlensing by an intervening star can resolve the afterglow image. We calculate the predicted magnification history of GRB afterglows as a function of observed frequency and ambient medium properties. We find that intensive monitoring of a microlensed afterglow light curve can be used to reconstruct the parameters of the fireball and its environment and provide constraints on particle acceleration and magnetic field amplification in relativistic blast waves.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported in part by the Horowitz foundation and the US-Israel BSF grant BSF-9800225 (for J. G.) and by NASA grants NAG5-7039 and NAG5-7768, NSF grants AST 99-00877 and AST 00-71019, and US-Israel BSF grant BSF-9800343 (for A. L.).
- Gamma rays: bursts
- Gravitational lensing