An exceptionally bright flare from SGR 1806-20 and the origins of short-duration γ-ray bursts

K. Hurley, S. E. Boggs, D. M. Smith, R. C. Duncan, R. Lin, A. Zoglauer, S. Krucker, G. Hurford, H. Hudson, C. Wigger, W. Hajdas, C. Thompson, I. Mitrofanov, A. Sanin, William V. Boynton, C. Fellows, A. Von Kienlin, G. Lichti, A. Rau, T. Cline

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Abstract

Soft-γ-ray repeaters (SGRs) are galactic X-ray stars that emit numerous short-duration (about 0.1 s) bursts of hard X-rays during sporadic active periods. They are thought to be magnetars: strongly magnetized neutron stars with emissions powered by the dissipation of magnetic energy. Here we report the detection of a long (380 s) giant flare from SGR 1806-20, which was much more luminous than any previous transient event observed in our Galaxy. (In the first 0.2 s, the flare released as much energy as the Sun radiates in a quarter of a million years.) Its power can be explained by a catastrophic instability involving global crust failure and magnetic reconnection on a magnetar, with possible large-scale untwisting of magnetic field lines outside the star. From a great distance this event would appear to be a short-duration, hard-spectrum cosmic γ-ray burst. At least a significant fraction of the mysterious short-duration γ-ray bursts may therefore come from extragalactic magnetars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1098-1103
Number of pages6
JournalNature
Volume434
Issue number7037
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 28 2005

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Galaxies
X-Rays
Neutrons
Solar System
Magnetic Fields

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Hurley, K., Boggs, S. E., Smith, D. M., Duncan, R. C., Lin, R., Zoglauer, A., ... Cline, T. (2005). An exceptionally bright flare from SGR 1806-20 and the origins of short-duration γ-ray bursts. Nature, 434(7037), 1098-1103. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature03519

An exceptionally bright flare from SGR 1806-20 and the origins of short-duration γ-ray bursts. / Hurley, K.; Boggs, S. E.; Smith, D. M.; Duncan, R. C.; Lin, R.; Zoglauer, A.; Krucker, S.; Hurford, G.; Hudson, H.; Wigger, C.; Hajdas, W.; Thompson, C.; Mitrofanov, I.; Sanin, A.; Boynton, William V.; Fellows, C.; Von Kienlin, A.; Lichti, G.; Rau, A.; Cline, T.

In: Nature, Vol. 434, No. 7037, 28.04.2005, p. 1098-1103.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hurley, K, Boggs, SE, Smith, DM, Duncan, RC, Lin, R, Zoglauer, A, Krucker, S, Hurford, G, Hudson, H, Wigger, C, Hajdas, W, Thompson, C, Mitrofanov, I, Sanin, A, Boynton, WV, Fellows, C, Von Kienlin, A, Lichti, G, Rau, A & Cline, T 2005, 'An exceptionally bright flare from SGR 1806-20 and the origins of short-duration γ-ray bursts', Nature, vol. 434, no. 7037, pp. 1098-1103. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature03519
Hurley K, Boggs SE, Smith DM, Duncan RC, Lin R, Zoglauer A et al. An exceptionally bright flare from SGR 1806-20 and the origins of short-duration γ-ray bursts. Nature. 2005 Apr 28;434(7037):1098-1103. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature03519
Hurley, K. ; Boggs, S. E. ; Smith, D. M. ; Duncan, R. C. ; Lin, R. ; Zoglauer, A. ; Krucker, S. ; Hurford, G. ; Hudson, H. ; Wigger, C. ; Hajdas, W. ; Thompson, C. ; Mitrofanov, I. ; Sanin, A. ; Boynton, William V. ; Fellows, C. ; Von Kienlin, A. ; Lichti, G. ; Rau, A. ; Cline, T. / An exceptionally bright flare from SGR 1806-20 and the origins of short-duration γ-ray bursts. In: Nature. 2005 ; Vol. 434, No. 7037. pp. 1098-1103.
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AU - Duncan, R. C.

AU - Lin, R.

AU - Zoglauer, A.

AU - Krucker, S.

AU - Hurford, G.

AU - Hudson, H.

AU - Wigger, C.

AU - Hajdas, W.

AU - Thompson, C.

AU - Mitrofanov, I.

AU - Sanin, A.

AU - Boynton, William V.

AU - Fellows, C.

AU - Von Kienlin, A.

AU - Lichti, G.

AU - Rau, A.

AU - Cline, T.

PY - 2005/4/28

Y1 - 2005/4/28

N2 - Soft-γ-ray repeaters (SGRs) are galactic X-ray stars that emit numerous short-duration (about 0.1 s) bursts of hard X-rays during sporadic active periods. They are thought to be magnetars: strongly magnetized neutron stars with emissions powered by the dissipation of magnetic energy. Here we report the detection of a long (380 s) giant flare from SGR 1806-20, which was much more luminous than any previous transient event observed in our Galaxy. (In the first 0.2 s, the flare released as much energy as the Sun radiates in a quarter of a million years.) Its power can be explained by a catastrophic instability involving global crust failure and magnetic reconnection on a magnetar, with possible large-scale untwisting of magnetic field lines outside the star. From a great distance this event would appear to be a short-duration, hard-spectrum cosmic γ-ray burst. At least a significant fraction of the mysterious short-duration γ-ray bursts may therefore come from extragalactic magnetars.

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