Soft Gamma-Ray Repeater Light Echoes Captured by Swift Satellite

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NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected a rapid-fire « storm » of high-energy blasts from a highly magnetized neutron star, also called a magnetar, on Jan. 22, 2009. Now astronomers analyzing this data have discovered underlying signals related to seismic waves rippling throughout the magnetar.

In the midst of SGR J1550-5418’s 2009 burst storm, Swift’s X-Ray Telescope captured an expanding halo produced by the magnetar’s brightest bursts. The rings formed as X-rays from the brightest bursts scattered off of intervening dust clouds. Clouds closer to Earth produced larger rings.

Credit: NASA/Swift/Jules Halpern, Columbia Univ.

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