Gamma-ray Bursts, Classified Physically


From Galactic binary sources, to extragalactic magnetized neutron stars, to long-duration GRBs without associated supernovae, the types of sources we now believe capable of producing bursts of gamma- rays continues to grow apace. With this emergent diversity comes the recognition that the traditional and newly formulated high- energy observables used for identifying sub-classes does not provide an adequate one-to-one mapping to progenitors. The popular classification of some >100 sec duration GRBs as ``short bursts’’ is not only an unpalatable retronym and syntactically oxymoronic but highlights the difficultly of using what was once a purely phenomenological classification to encode our understanding of the physics that gives rise to the events. Here we propose a physically based classification scheme designed to coexist with the phenomenological system already in place and argue for its utility and necessity.

American Institute of Physics Conference Series