Quark Stars as inner engines for Gamma Ray Bursts?

Astronomy and Astrophysics (Impact Factor: 5.08). 03/2001; DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20020409
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT A model for Gamma ray bursts inner engine based on quark stars (speculated to exist in nature) is presented. We describe how and why these objects might constitute new candidates for GRB inner engines. At the heart of the model is the onset of exotic phases of quark matter at the surface of such stars, in particular the 2-flavor color superconductivity. A novel feature of such a phase is the generation of particles which are unstable to photon decay providing a natural mechanism for a fireball generation; an approach which is fundamentally different from models where the fireball is generated during collapse or conversion of neutron star to quark star processes. The model is capable of reproducing crucial features of Gamma ray bursts, such as the episodic activity of the engine (multiple and random shell emission) and the two distinct categories of the bursts (two regimes are isolated in the model with \sim 2 s and \sim 81 s burst total duration). Comment: 8 pages, 3 figures, new and more appropriate title. Major changes in the text (aspects of the models discussed in more details), better quality Figure 1 and Figure 2 and added Figure 3, version to appear in Astronomy&Astrophysics

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    ABSTRACT: We discuss whether the winding-up of the magnetic field by differential rotation in a new-born quark star can produce a sufficiently-high, energy, emission rate of sufficiently long duration to explain long gamma-ray bursts. In the context of magnetohydrodynamics, we study the torsional oscillations and energy extraction from a new-born, hot, differentially rotating quark star. The new-born compact star is a rapid rotator that produces a relativistic, leptonic wind. The star's torsional oscillation modulates this wind emission considerably when it is odd and of sufficient amplitude, which is relatively easy to reach. Odd oscillations may occur just after the formation of a quark star. Other asymmetries can cause similar effects. The buoyancy of wound-up magnetic fields is inhibited, or its effects are limited, by a variety of different mechanisms. Direct electromagnetic emission by the torsional oscillation in either an outside vacuum or the leptonic wind surrounding the compact object is found to be insignificant. In contrast, the twist given to the outer magnetic field by an odd torsional oscillation is generally sufficient to open the star's magnetosphere. The Poynting emission of the star in its leptonic environment is then radiated from all of its surface and is enhanced considerably during these open episodes, tapping at the bulk rotational energy of the star. This results in intense energy shedding in the first tens of minutes after the collapse of magnetized quark stars with an initial poloidal field of order of 10**14 Gauss, sufficient to explain long gamma-ray bursts. Comment: 16 pages, accepted by Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: The cooling history of a quark star in the colour superconductive phase is investigated. Here we specifically focus on the two-flavour colour (2SC) phase where the novel process of photon generation via glueball (GLB) decay has already been investigated. The picture we present here can, in principle, be generalized to quark stars entering a superconductive phase where similar photon generation mechanisms are at play. As much as 1045–1047 erg of energy is provided by the GLB decay in the 2SC phase. The generated photons slowly diffuse out of the quark star, keeping it hot and radiating as a blackbody (with possibly a Wien spectrum in gamma-rays) for millions of years. We discuss hot radio-quiet isolated neutron stars in our picture (such as RX J185635–3754 and RX J0720.4–3125) and argue that their nearly blackbody spectra (with a few broad features) and their remarkably tiny hydrogen atmosphere are indications that these might be quark stars in the colour superconductive phase where some sort of photon generation mechanism (reminiscent of the GLB decay) has taken place. Fits to observed data of cooling compact stars favour models with superconductive gaps of Δ2SC∼ 15–35 MeV and densities ρ2SC= (2.5–3.0) ×ρN (ρN being the nuclear matter saturation density) for quark matter in the 2SC phase. If correct, our model combined with more observations of isolated compact stars could provide vital information to studies of quark matter and its exotic phases.
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