The propagation and eruption of relativistic jets from the stellar progenitors of gamma-ray bursts

Weiqun Zhang, S. E. Woosley, A. Heger

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194 Citations (Scopus)


New two- and three-dimensional calculations are presented of relativistic jet propagation and break out in massive Wolf-Rayet stars. Such jets are thought to be responsible for gamma-ray bursts. As it erupts, the highly relativistic jet core (3° to 5°; Γ ≳ 100) is surrounded by a cocoon of less energetic, but still moderately relativistic ejecta (Γ ∼ 15) that expands and becomes visible at larger polar angles (∼10°). These less energetic ejecta may be the origin of X-ray flashes and other high-energy transients, which will be visible to a larger fraction of the sky, albeit to a shorter distance than common gamma-ray bursts. Jet stability is also examined in three-dimensional calculations. If the jet changes angle by more than 3° in several seconds, it will dissipate, producing a broad beam with inadequate Lorentz factor to make a common gamma-ray burst. This may be an alternate way to make X-ray flashes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-377
Number of pages13
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Gamma rays: bursts
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Methods: numerical
  • Relativity

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