Gamma-ray burst afterglow theory (invited)

Author: Hendrik van Eerten

Abstract: It is by now fairly well established that gamma-ray burst afterglows result from initially relativistic outflows interacting with the medium surrounding the burster and emitting non-thermal radiation ranging from radio to X-rays. However, beyond that, many big and small questions remain about afterglows, with the accumulating amount of observational data at the various frequencies raising as many questions as they answer. In this review I will highlight a number of current theoretical issues and how they fit or do not fit within our basic theoretical framework, including flares, plateaus and jet breaks. In addition to theoretical progress I will also emphasize the increasing role and usefulness of numerical studies of afterglow blast waves and their radiation.