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 ∼ 1014 to 1015 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.
|Publication status||Published - 12 Nov 2010|