Gamma Ray Bursts
Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) are extremely bright and rapid explosions associated with the collapse of massive stars or with compact star mergers. An ultra-relativistic jet forms at the center of the explosion and due to internal dissipation emits gamma rays that are known as the “prompt" phase of the GRB. As the jet collides with the external environment, a smoother, longer-lived “afterglow" emission is produced. Although studied for almost 50 years, some major questions about GRBs remain unsolved. The recent discovery of a GRB counterpart to the gravitational wave signal observed from a binary neutron star merger was a spectacular milestone that has already helped address many of the open questions. Many other open questions will be similarly answered in the next few years, when more GRBs are detected as gravitational wave counterparts. I study many different aspects of GRBs, including radiation and dissipation mechanisms in the prompt and afterglow stages of GRBs, the central engines driving the explosions and the nature of the jets that they produce.
About half of the elements in the universe heavier than iron are created via the rapid neutron capture process (the r-process). Over the recent years our understanding of the formation sites of these elements has rapidly evolved with exciting observations such as the discovery of an r-process powered electromagnetic counterpart of a binary neutron star merger detected through gravitational waves and the observation of r-process enhanced stars in some of the smallest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way. Binary neutron star mergers have emerged as a leading site for the origin of r-process elements, although many uncertainties and mysteries remain, such as the role of turbulent mixing and the observed decline in deposition of r-process elements in the later stages of the Milky way's evolution. The next few years promise to bring big changes to our understanding of r-process formation in the Universe.
Compact binary systems
Binary neutron star systems are typically the result of two stellar collapses (i.e. supernovae). The fact that the two stars remain bound to one another after two such collapses strongly constrains the latter. As a result, the velocities of those systems, the amount of mass ejected by the collapsing star leading to the formation of the second neutron star in the system and the delay time between the formation of the binary neutron star and its eventual merger due to orbital energy losses by gravitational wave radiation, are all strongly constrained. These shed new light on the stellar evolution histories of those systems, the types of supernovae that are associated with their formation and exciting potential sources of gravitational wave radiation.
Fast Radio Bursts
Fast radio bursts are millisecond long radio pulses with a rate as high as 10,000 bursts per sky per day. These mysterious bursts have been discovered as recently as 2007. The understanding of this phenomena has been dramatically evolving in the last few years, and many surprising discoveries make this an incredibly dynamic and exciting research topic. The most recent of these discoveries include the recent detection of an FRB from a magnetar in own Galaxy and the discovery of periodicity in the signal of some FRBs. Understanding the conditions that lead to the formation of FRBs, their emission mechanism and the source of their potential repeatability and periodicity are among the driving theoretical questions of the moment.
WHAT DOES FRB LIGHT-CURVE VARIABILITY TELL US ABOUT THE EMISSION MECHANISM?
Beniamini P.; Kumar P.; 2020, MNRAS, 498, 651B
TURBULENT MIXING OF R-PROCESS ELEMENTS IN THE MILKY WAY
Beniamini P.; Hotokezaka K.; 2020, MNRAS, 496, 1891B
AFTERGLOW LIGHT CURVES FROM MISALIGNED STRUCTURED JETS
Beniamini, P., Granot, J., Gill, R., 2020, MNRAS, 493, 3521B
X-RAY PLATEAUS IN GAMMA-RAY BURSTS' LIGHT CURVES FROM JETS VIEWED SLIGHTLY OFF-AXIS
Beniamini, P., Duque, R., Daigne, F., Mochkovitch, R., 2020, MNRAS, 492, 2847B
Pasadena, CA, USA
(202) 702 0365