A low-magnetic-field soft gamma repeater

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Abstract : 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, $B ~ 10^{14}$ to 10$^{15}$ 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 × 10$^{12}$ 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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N. Rea, P. Esposito, R. Turolla, G. Israel, S. Zane, et al.. A low-magnetic-field soft gamma repeater. Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2010, 330 (6006), pp.944-946. ⟨10.1126/science.1196088⟩. ⟨cea-00862606⟩

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