X-ray plateaus in gamma-ray bursts' light curves from jets viewed slightly off-axis

Paz Beniamini, Raphaël Duque, Frédéric Daigne, Robert Mochkovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using multiple observational arguments, recent work has shown that cosmological gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are typically viewed at angles within, or close to the cores of their relativistic jets. One of those arguments relied on the lack of tens-of-days-long periods of very shallow evolution that would be seen in the afterglow light curves of GRBs viewed at large angles. Motivated by these results, we consider that GRBs efficiently produce γ -rays only within a narrow region around the core. We show that, on these near-core lines of sight, structured jets naturally produce shallow phases in the X-ray afterglow of GRBs. These plateaus would be seen by a large fraction of observers and would last between 102-105 s. They naturally reproduce the observed distributions of time-scales and luminosities as well as the intercorrelations between plateau duration, plateau luminosity, and prompt γ -ray energy. An advantage of this interpretation is that it involves no late-time energy injection which would be both challenging from the point of view of the central engine and, as we show here, less natural given the observed correlations between plateau and prompt properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2847-2857
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society


  • Gamma-ray burst: general
  • Radiation mechanisms: general


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