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D. Q. Lamb, Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA,
T. Q. Donaghy, Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA,
C. Graziani, Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
HETE-2 has confirmed the connection between GRBs and Type Ic supernovae. Thus we now know that the progenitors of long GRBs are massive stars. HETE-2 has also provided strong evidence that the properties of X-Ray Flashes (XRFs) and GRBs form a continuum, and therefore that these two types of bursts are the same phenomenon. We show that both the structured jet and the uniform jet models can explain the observed properties of GRBs reasonably well. However, if one tries to account for the properties of both XRFs and GRBs in a unified picture, the uniform jet model works reasonably well while the structured jet model fails utterly. The uniform jet model of XRFs and GRBs implies that most GRBs have very small jet opening angles (∼ half a degree). This suggests that magnetic fields play a crucial role in GRB jets. The model also implies that the energy radiated in gamma rays is ∼100 times smaller than has been thought. Most importantly, the model implies that there are ∼ 104–105 more bursts with very small jet opening angles for every such burst we see. Thus the rate of GRBs could be comparable to the rate of Type Ic core collapse supernovae. Accurate, rapid localizations of many XRFs, leading to identification of their X-ray and optical afterglows and the determination of their redshifts, will be required in order to confirm or rule out these profound implications.
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