Picture of the Month

July 2009

High-energy blast

SGR 0501+4516: a high-energy blast from a new 'dead' star

Magnetars are the most intensely magnetised objects in the Universe. They exhibit magnetic field strengths which are 1015 times stronger than that of the Earth. On 2008 August 22 a new magnetar, labelled SGR 0501+4516, underwent an outburst, which was promptly observed by INTEGRAL a few days after its activation. This led to the first discovery of transient hard X-ray emission in a magnetar, which faded out within about 10 days from the onset of the eruption. The left panel shows the IBIS-ISGRI image of SGR 0501+4516 taken 5 days after the outburst activation, while in the right panel the IBIS-ISGRI non-detection about 10 days later is shown. On both images the BAT error circle is superimposed on the SGR 0501+4516 position.

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