Plug disintegration in gamma-ray burst jet eruption

Almog Yalinewich, Paz Beniamini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this work, we consider the eruption of a tenuous relativistic hydrodynamic jet from a dense baryonic envelope. As the jet moves out and away, it carries along and continues to accelerate a layer of baryonic material, which we refer to as the plug. We solve the relativistic equations of motion for the trajectory of the plug, and verify it using a relativistic hydrodynamic simulation. We show that under these conditions, the plug breaks up at a radius larger by a factor of a few from the radius of the envelope, due to the onset of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability. After breakup, the jet continues to accelerate to higher Lorentz factors, while the plug fragments maintain a moderate Lorentz factor. The presence of slower moving ejecta can explain late time features of gamma-ray bursts such as X-ray flares without recourse to a long-lived engine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1488-1498
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society.


  • gamma-ray burst: General
  • hydrodynamics
  • relativistic processes


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