Are Radio Sources and Gamma Ray Bursts Luminal Booms?

Research paper by Manoj Thulasidas

Indexed on: 22 Jan '07Published on: 22 Jan '07Published in: Astrophysics


The softening of a Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) afterglow bears remarkable similarities to the frequency evolution in a sonic boom. At the front end of the sonic boom cone, the frequency is infinite, much like a GRB. Inside the cone, the frequency rapidly decreases to infrasonic ranges and the sound source appears at two places at the same time, mimicking the double-lobed radio sources. Although a "luminal" boom violates the Lorentz invariance and is therefore forbidden, it is tempting to work out the details and compare them with existing data. This temptation is further enhanced by the observed superluminality in the celestial objects associated with radio sources and some GRBs. In this article, we calculate the temporal and spatial variation of observed frequencies from a hypothetical luminal boom and show remarkable similarity between our calculations and current observations.