Precessing jets interacting with interstellar material as the origin for the light curves of gamma-ray bursts
We present an internal shock model with external characteristics for explaining the complicated light curves of gamma-ray bursts. Shocks produce gamma-rays in the interaction between a precessing beam of relativistic particles and the interstellar medium. Each time the particle beam passes the same line of sight with the observer the interstellar medium is pushed outward. Subsequent interactions between the medium and the beam are delayed by the extra distance to be travelled for the particles before the shock can form. This results in a natural retardation and leads to an intrinsic asymmetry in the light curves produced for gamma-ray bursts. In addition, we account for the cooling of the electron-proton plasma in the shocked region, which gives rise to an exponential decay in the gamma-ray flux. The combination of these effects and the precessing jet of ultrarelativistic particles produces light curves that can be directly compared with observed gamma-ray burst light curves. We illustrate the model by fitting a number of observed gamma-ray bursts that are difficult to explain with only a precessing jet. We develop a genetic algorithm to fit several observed gamma-ray bursts with remarkable accuracy. We find that for different bursts the observed fluence, assuming isotropic emission, easily varies over four orders of magnitude from the energy generated intrinsically.