For the final astronomy twitter journal club meeting of 2011 we discussed the two recently published explanations for the peculiar gamma-ray burst GRB 101225A. This object was first seen on Christmas Day 2010 and hence was nicknamed the Christmas Burst, giving the meeting a tenuously festive connection. There’s some more information in our Preview post and you can also read the Full Transcript of the meeting.
Journal club will return on Thursday 12th January. Have a Happy Christmas everyone and see you all next year.
Onto the review.
Model fitting issues
I thought one of the more interesting things about this week’s papers is that the GRB can be explained with 2 very different models – @astronomyjc
it’s clearly problematic to employ tried and tested models to previously unobserved phenomena – @LeonBaloo
True. They really need to see another one – help to pin down its peculiarities – @astronomyjc
The minor body paper does make some leaps of faith, relying on this XSPEC model fitting software to do the fitting – @LeonBaloo
Which model do we prefer? Or should we be looking for a third option?
The stellar model does seem to be more appealing… neutron stars are more often observed in binaries. – @LeonBaloo
Yeah, plus it seems to fit in more with the extragalactic supernova progenitor theory for GRBs – @astronomyjc
Pages 8-12 in supp material of the minor body paper discuss some of the other possibilities – homework for the future – @LeonBaloo
ok bottom of page 11 in minor body paper rules out magnetars! – @LeonBaloo
Along with many, many other things. They’re very thorough. Can’t argue that they haven’t tried out many options – @astronomyjc
Im always a little skeptical if a paper tries to exclude almost anything, except for what they like most…. but im no specialist! – @Awesome_Ph
Could more data help?
At this point I really couldn’t say – know next to nothing about host galaxy confirmation for GRBs! – @LeonBaloo
are there different/more obs that could tell models apart? What’s required? – @AstroSpanner
As far as I can tell, detecting the host & thus getting the distance to the GRB would rule out one or the other – @astronomyjc
Unless similar event occurs and is well observed… not much to go on as far as authors say – exhaustive with options – @LeonBaloo
Indeed! Found what I was looking for – the GRB is not too far placed from the direction of the Galactic Bulge. – @LeonBaloo
Which means that getting an optical confirmation through all that gas/dust/starlight is going to be real tough… – @LeonBaloo
A phenomenological disagreement
Making a first stab with known models is fine, but if nothing fits the picture, phenomenological options must be sought – @LeonBaloo
Why must they be sought? Why is a conclusion that nothing seems to work good enough? – @Awesome_Ph
Because astronomers are scientists, not engineers 😀 – @LeonBaloo
Imho, a phenomenological model without physics in it does not add anything to our understanding. Might as well skip it. – @Awesome_Ph
We differ in our understanding – by phenomenological, I mean a physically motivated model that accounts for rare events – @LeonBaloo
I call that ‘making something up that happens to work’ if this wouldnt work, they would have made up something else…:) – @Awesome_Ph
That’s pretty much science right there: “making something up that happens to work” – @LeonBaloo
And one last point
Final thought: Both authors need to figure out what observations needed to confirm their models. Can’t comment on model themselves! – @LeonBaloo