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A low-magnetic-field soft gamma repeater

A low-magnetic-field soft gamma repeater

Publication date: 12 November 2010

Authors: Rea, N., et al.

Journal: Science
Volume: 330
Issue: 6006
Page: 944-946
Year: 2010

Copyright: © 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Published online 14 October 2010.

Soft gamma repeaters (SGRs) and anomalous x-ray pulsars form a rapidly increasing group of x-ray sources exhibiting sporadic emission of short bursts. They are believed to be magnetars, that is, neutron stars powered by extreme magnetic fields, B ~ 1014 to 1015 gauss. We report on a soft gamma repeater with low magnetic field, SGR 0418+5729, recently detected after it emitted bursts similar to those of magnetars. X-ray observations show that its dipolar magnetic field cannot be greater than 7.5 × 1012 gauss, well in the range of ordinary radio pulsars, implying that a high surface dipolar magnetic field is not necessarily required for magnetar-like activity. The magnetar population may thus include objects with a wider range of B-field strengths, ages, and evolutionary stages than observed so far.

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