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Advances in Astronomy
Volume 2016, Article ID 1592148, 10 pages
Review Article

Diverse Features of the Multiwavelength Afterglows of Gamma-Ray Bursts: Natural or Special?

1School of Astronomy and Space Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210046, China
2Key Laboratory of Modern Astronomy and Astrophysics (Nanjing University), Ministry of Education, Nanjing, China

Received 22 February 2016; Revised 7 April 2016; Accepted 10 April 2016

Academic Editor: WeiKang Zheng

Copyright © 2016 J. J. Geng and Y. F. Huang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The detection of optical rebrightenings and X-ray plateaus in the afterglows of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) challenges the generic external shock model. Recently, we have developed a numerical method to calculate the dynamics of the system consisting of a forward shock and a reverse shock. Here, we briefly review the applications of this method in the afterglow theory. By relating these diverse features to the central engines of GRBs, we find that the steep optical rebrightenings would be caused by the fall-back accretion of black holes, while the shallow optical rebrightenings are the consequence of the injection of the electron-positron-pair wind from the central magnetar. These studies provide useful ways to probe the characteristics of GRB central engines.