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Theses Doctoral

Gamma-Ray Burst Science in the Era of IACT Arrays

Weiner, Ori Michael

In this thesis, we explore and improve on the science of gamma-ray bursts with particular attention to the very-high-energy regime. We begin by discussing Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescope Arrays (IACTs), which are the primary instruments of observation at very-high-energy gamma rays. We focus on a particular, state-of-the-art IACT array in southern Arizona: Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS). We then discuss the science of gamma-ray bursts and what can be learned from IACT observations. We follow with a couple of technical improvements, allowing one to better search for and characterize gamma-ray bursts with IACTs. The techniques focus on statistical methods for detection of transient sources, as well as angular reconstruction at arbitrary zenith angles of observation. We then use one of our new statistical methods to search for a signal in VERITAS observations of gamma-ray burst locations, with tests designed to search for particular bursts as well as for hints of emission in the entire sample of observations. We conclude that there is no evidence for a signal and follow with a discussion of the particularly interesting non-detection of GRB 150323A. We discuss the implications of this non-detection on the energetics and ambient environment of this burst. We conclude that the VERITAS observations might indicate gamma-ray bursts taking place in the dense wind of Wolf-Rayet stars.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Physics
Thesis Advisors
Mukherjee, Reshmi
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 19, 2017