Wednesday, August 8, 2012
IPAC 102 (Large Conference Room)
IPAC Astronomy Lunch Seminar
The golden age of magnetars
Soft gamma repeaters (SGRs) and anomalous X-ray pulsars (AXPs) are thought to be magnetars: neutron stars powered by extreme magnetic fields (B>10^14 G). These rare objects are characterized by repeated and sometimes spectacular bursts. The existence of magnetars has been theoretically hypothesized in 1992, but only confirmed in 1998 when their timing properties were inferred by the RXTE telescope, leading to a direct measurement of their dipole magnetic field. In this talk, I will focus on the SGR class of magnetars. I will summarize the spectral properties of their high energy bursting and persistent emission and very briefly discuss the theory behind them. I will give some of the most interesting results of the FERMI/gamma-ray burst monitor (GBM) magnetar group and conclude with some suggestions for future research.