Flares from a candidate Galactic magnetar suggest a missing link to dim isolated neutron stars

Creative Commons License

Castro-Tirado A. J. , de Ugarte Postigo A., Gorosabel J., Jelinek M., Fatkhullin T. A. , Sokolov V. V. , ...Daha Fazla

NATURE, cilt.455, ss.506-509, 2008 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 455 Konu: 7212
  • Basım Tarihi: 2008
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1038/nature07328
  • Dergi Adı: NATURE
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.506-509


Magnetars(1) are young neutron stars with very strong magnetic fields of the order of 10(14)-10(15) G. They are detected in our Galaxy either as soft gamma-ray repeaters or anomalous X-ray pulsars. Soft gamma-ray repeaters are a rare type of gamma-ray transient sources that are occasionally detected as bursters in the high-energy sky(2-4). No optical counterpart to the gamma-ray flares or the quiescent source has yet been identified. Here we report multi-wavelength observations of a puzzling source, SWIFT J195509+261406. We detected more than 40 flaring episodes in the optical band over a time span of three days, and a faint infrared flare 11 days later, after which the source returned to quiescence. Our radio observations confirm a Galactic nature and establish a lower distance limit of similar to 3.7 kpc. We suggest that SWIFT J195509+261406 could be an isolated magnetar whose bursting activity has been detected at optical wavelengths, and for which the long- term X- ray emission is short- lived. In this case, a new manifestation of magnetar activity has been recorded and we can consider SWIFT J195509+261406 to be a link between the 'persistent' soft gamma-ray repeaters/anomalous X- ray pulsars and dim isolated neutron stars.