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What Are Gamma-Ray Bursts? by Joshua S. Bloom

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5

THE PROGENITORS OF GAMMA-RAY BURSTS

One day I undertook a tour through the country, and the diversity and beauties of nature I met with in this charming season, expelled every gloomy and vexatious thought.

—Daniel Boone, from “Boone’s Narrative,"appended to John Filson, The Discovery, Settlement,and Present State of Kentucke, 1784, 54–55

The physics of the central engine (§2.3) is constrained by basic measurements of GRB variability, inferred luminosity and energy release, and event spectra. This has led to the conclusion that a newly formed black hole or rapidly spinning neutron star lies at the heart of most distant GRBs: popular-level promotions of GRBs have noted, not unreasonably, that a GRB is the birth cry of a newborn black hole. But ...

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