A giant γ-ray flare from the magnetar SGR 1806-20

D. M. Palmer, S. Barthelmy, N. Gehrels, R. M. Kippen, T. Cayton, C. Kouveliotou, D. Eichler, R. A M J Wijers, P. M. Woods, J. Granot, Y. E. Lyubarsky, E. Ramirez-Ruiz, L. Barbier, M. Chester, J. Cummings, E. E. Fenimore, M. H. Finger, B. M. Gaensler, D. Hullinger, H. Krimm & 8 others C. B. Markwardt, J. A. Nousek, A. Parsons, S. Patel, T. Sakamoto, G. Sato, M. Suzuki, J. Tueller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

332 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Two classes of rotating neutron stars-soft γ-ray repeaters (SGRs) and anomalous X-ray pulsars-are magnetars, whose X-ray emission is powered by a very strong magnetic field (B ≈ 1015 G). SGRs occasionally become 'active', producing many short X-ray bursts. Extremely rarely, an SGR emits a giant flare with a total energy about a thousand times higher than in a typical burst. Here we report that SGR 1806-20 emitted a giant flare on 27 December 2004. The total (isotropic) flare energy is 2 × 1046 erg, which is about a hundred times higher than the other two previously observed giant flares. The energy release probably occurred during a catastrophic reconfiguration of the neutron star's magnetic field. If the event had occurred at a larger distance, but within 40 megaparsecs, it would have resembled a short, hard γ-ray burst, suggesting that flares from extragalactic SGRs may form a subclass of such bursts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1107-1109
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume434
Issue number7037
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Apr 28

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Neutrons
X-Rays
Magnetic Fields

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Palmer, D. M., Barthelmy, S., Gehrels, N., Kippen, R. M., Cayton, T., Kouveliotou, C., ... Tueller, J. (2005). A giant γ-ray flare from the magnetar SGR 1806-20. Nature, 434(7037), 1107-1109. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature03525

A giant γ-ray flare from the magnetar SGR 1806-20. / Palmer, D. M.; Barthelmy, S.; Gehrels, N.; Kippen, R. M.; Cayton, T.; Kouveliotou, C.; Eichler, D.; Wijers, R. A M J; Woods, P. M.; Granot, J.; Lyubarsky, Y. E.; Ramirez-Ruiz, E.; Barbier, L.; Chester, M.; Cummings, J.; Fenimore, E. E.; Finger, M. H.; Gaensler, B. M.; Hullinger, D.; Krimm, H.; Markwardt, C. B.; Nousek, J. A.; Parsons, A.; Patel, S.; Sakamoto, T.; Sato, G.; Suzuki, M.; Tueller, J.

In: Nature, Vol. 434, No. 7037, 28.04.2005, p. 1107-1109.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Palmer, DM, Barthelmy, S, Gehrels, N, Kippen, RM, Cayton, T, Kouveliotou, C, Eichler, D, Wijers, RAMJ, Woods, PM, Granot, J, Lyubarsky, YE, Ramirez-Ruiz, E, Barbier, L, Chester, M, Cummings, J, Fenimore, EE, Finger, MH, Gaensler, BM, Hullinger, D, Krimm, H, Markwardt, CB, Nousek, JA, Parsons, A, Patel, S, Sakamoto, T, Sato, G, Suzuki, M & Tueller, J 2005, 'A giant γ-ray flare from the magnetar SGR 1806-20', Nature, vol. 434, no. 7037, pp. 1107-1109. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature03525
Palmer DM, Barthelmy S, Gehrels N, Kippen RM, Cayton T, Kouveliotou C et al. A giant γ-ray flare from the magnetar SGR 1806-20. Nature. 2005 Apr 28;434(7037):1107-1109. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature03525
Palmer, D. M. ; Barthelmy, S. ; Gehrels, N. ; Kippen, R. M. ; Cayton, T. ; Kouveliotou, C. ; Eichler, D. ; Wijers, R. A M J ; Woods, P. M. ; Granot, J. ; Lyubarsky, Y. E. ; Ramirez-Ruiz, E. ; Barbier, L. ; Chester, M. ; Cummings, J. ; Fenimore, E. E. ; Finger, M. H. ; Gaensler, B. M. ; Hullinger, D. ; Krimm, H. ; Markwardt, C. B. ; Nousek, J. A. ; Parsons, A. ; Patel, S. ; Sakamoto, T. ; Sato, G. ; Suzuki, M. ; Tueller, J. / A giant γ-ray flare from the magnetar SGR 1806-20. In: Nature. 2005 ; Vol. 434, No. 7037. pp. 1107-1109.
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AU - Gaensler, B. M.

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AU - Krimm, H.

AU - Markwardt, C. B.

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AU - Parsons, A.

AU - Patel, S.

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AU - Sato, G.

AU - Suzuki, M.

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