Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) appear as the brightest transient phenomena in the Universe. The nature of the central engine in GRBs is a missing link in the theory of fireballs to their stellar mass progenitors. Here it is shown that rotating black holes produce electron-positron outflow when brought into contact with a strong magnetic field. For a nearly extreme Kerr black hole and in the strong magnetic field limit, particle outflow from an initial state of electrostatic equilibrium has a normalized isotropic emission of about 5*E48(B/Bc)2(M/7M_sun)^2sin ^2θ erg/s, where B is the external magnetic field strength, Bc=4.4x 1013G, and M is the mass of the black hole. A connection with fireballs in γ -ray bursts is given. Partial support for this work is received from NASA Grant 5-7012 and an MIT Reed Award.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 1999