Gamma-ray bursts as tools for extragalactic astrophysics and cosmology

Rosalba Perna (JILA, University of Colorado, Boulder)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2011-11-14 16:00
Hennings 318
Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) are the brightest light sources in the Universe, as well as the most distant sources known. These characteristics, combined with their power-law spectra, make them ideal cosmological probes. In this talk I will discuss how GRBs are impacting several areas of extragalactic astrophysics and cosmology. In particular, I will show how they can be used to trace the evolution of the mean density and clumpiness of the interstellar medium with redshift, and the properties of dust in high-z galaxies. Detection of GRBs at very high redshifts can help set constraints on the small-scale power spectrum of density fluctuations. High-resolution observations of long GRBs allow to shed light on the properties of their massive star progenitors. Statistical studies of short GRBs can improve our understanding of evolutionary binary scenarios.
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