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Rapid spectral variability of a giant flare from a magnetar in NGC 253
Nature ( IF 42.778 ) Pub Date : 2021-01-13 , DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-03077-8
O. J. Roberts; P. Veres; M. G. Baring; M. S. Briggs; C. Kouveliotou; E. Bissaldi; G. Younes; S. I. Chastain; J. J. DeLaunay; D. Huppenkothen; A. Tohuvavohu; P. N. Bhat; E. Göğüş; A. J. van der Horst; J. A. Kennea; D. Kocevski; J. D. Linford; S. Guiriec; R. Hamburg; C. A. Wilson-Hodge; E. Burns

Magnetars are neutron stars with extremely strong magnetic fields (1013 to 1015 gauss)1,2, which episodically emit X-ray bursts approximately 100 milliseconds long and with energies of 1040 to 1041 erg. Occasionally, they also produce extremely bright and energetic giant flares, which begin with a short (roughly 0.2 seconds), intense flash, followed by fainter, longer-lasting emission that is modulated by the spin period of the magnetar3,4 (typically 2 to 12 seconds). Over the past 40 years, only three such flares have been observed in our local group of galaxies3,4,5,6, and in all cases the extreme intensity of the flares caused the detectors to saturate. It has been proposed that extragalactic giant flares are probably a subset7,8,9,10,11 of short γ-ray bursts, given that the sensitivity of current instrumentation prevents us from detecting the pulsating tail, whereas the initial bright flash is readily observable out to distances of around 10 to 20 million parsecs. Here we report X-ray and γ-ray observations of the γ-ray burst GRB 200415A, which has a rapid onset, very fast time variability, flat spectra and substantial sub-millisecond spectral evolution. These attributes match well with those expected for a giant flare from an extragalactic magnetar12, given that GRB 200415A is directionally associated13 with the galaxy NGC 253 (roughly 3.5 million parsecs away). The detection of three-megaelectronvolt photons provides evidence for the relativistic motion of the emitting plasma. Radiation from such rapidly moving gas around a rotating magnetar may have generated the rapid spectral evolution that we observe.



中文翻译:

NGC 253中来自磁星的巨大耀斑的快速光谱变化

磁星是具有极强磁场(10 13到10 15高斯)1,2的中子星,其场外发射约100毫秒长的X射线爆发,能量为10 40到10 41 erg。有时,它们还会产生异常明亮和充满活力的巨大耀斑,这些耀斑以短(约0.2秒)强烈的闪光开始,随后是较弱,持续时间更长的发射,该发射由磁石3,4的自旋周期(通常为2至12秒)。在过去的40年中,在我们当地的星系3、4、5、6星系中仅观察到了3个此类耀斑,并且在所有情况下,耀斑的极端强度都会导致检测器饱和。有人提出,银河系外大耀斑可能是短γ射线爆发的7,8,9,10,11的子集,因为当前仪器的灵敏度阻止我们检测到脉动的尾巴,而初始的明亮闪光很容易可以观察到大约10至2000万秒差距 在这里,我们报告了γ射线爆发GRB 200415A的X射线和γ射线观测结果,它具有快速起效,非常快的时间可变性,平坦的光谱和显着的亚毫秒光谱演变。这些属性与预期用于从河外磁星巨火炬匹配良好12,考虑到GRB 200415A被定向相关联的13与银河系NGC 253(相距约350万秒差距)。三兆电子伏特光子的检测为发射等离子体的相对论运动提供了证据。围绕着旋转的磁星体的这种快速移动的气体发出的辐射可能已经产生了我们观察到的快速光谱演化。

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