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Physics  1995 

Gamma-ray bursters as sources of cosmic rays

DOI: 10.1016/0927-6505(95)00052-6

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The little we do know of the physical conditions in gamma-ray bursters makes them conducive to the acceleration of high-energy cosmic rays, especially if they are at cosmological distances. We find that, with the observed statistics and fluxes of gamma-ray bursts, cosmological bursters may be an important source of cosmic rays in two regions of the observed spectrum: 1. At the very-high-energy end (E>10^{19} eV), where cosmic rays must be of extragalactic origin. 2. Around and above the spectral feature that has been described as a bump and/or a knee, which occurs around 10^{15} eV, and starts at about 10^{14} eV. The occasional bursters that occur inside the Galaxy--about once in a few hundred thousand years if burst emission is isotropic; more often, if it is beamed--could maintain the density of galactic cosmic rays at the observed level in this range. These two energy ranges might correspond to two typical energy scales expected from bursters: one pertinent to acceleration due to interaction of a magnetized-fireball front with an ambient medium; the other to acceleration in the fireball itself (e.g. shock acceleration).


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