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The Discovery of Rapid X-Ray Oscillations in the Tail of the SGR 1806-20 Hyperflare

The Discovery of Rapid X-Ray Oscillations in the Tail of the SGR 1806-20 Hyperflare

Publication date: 16 July 2005

Authors: Israel, G.L., et al.

Journal: ApJ
Volume: 628
Issue: 1
Page: L53-L56
Year: 2005

Copyright: The American Astronomical Society

We have discovered rapid quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs) in RXTE/PCA measurements of the pulsating tail of the 2004 December 27 giant flare of SGR 1806-20. QPOs at ~92.5 Hz are detected in a 50 s interval starting 170 s after the onset of the giant flare. These QPOs appear to be associated with increased emission by a relatively hard unpulsed component and are seen only over phases of the 7.56 s spin period pulsations away from the main peak. QPOs at ~18 and ~30 Hz are also detected ~200-300 s after the onset of the giant flare. This is the first time that QPOs are unambiguously detected in the flux of a soft gamma-ray repeater or any other magnetar candidate. We interpret the highest QPOs in terms of the coupling of toroidal seismic modes with Alfvén waves propagating along magnetospheric field lines. The lowest frequency QPO might instead provide indirect evidence on the strength of the internal magnetic field of the magnetar.

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