Hydrodynamics of a relativistic fireball: The complete evolution

Shiho Kobayashi*, Tsvi Piran, Re'em Sari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


We study numerically the evolution of an adiabatic relativistic fireball expanding into a cold uniform medium. We follow the stages of initial free expansion and acceleration, coasting, and then deceleration and slowing down to a nonrelativistic velocity. We compare the numerical results with simplified analytical estimates. We show that the relativistic self-similar Blandford-McKee solution describes well the relativistic deceleration epoch. It is an excellent approximation throughout the relativistic deceleration stage, down to γ ̃ 5, and a reasonable approximation even down to γ ̃ 2, though the solution is rigorous only for γ > 1. We examine the transition into the Blandford-McKee solution and the transition from the solution to the nonrelativistic self-similar Sedov-Taylor solution. These simulations demonstrate the attractive nature of the Blandford-McKee solution and its stability to radial perturbations.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)669-678
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART 1
StatePublished - 10 Mar 1999


  • Gamma rays: bursts
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Relativity
  • Shock waves


Dive into the research topics of 'Hydrodynamics of a relativistic fireball: The complete evolution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this