Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astronomy
The most intense burst of X- and gamma-radiation in 30 years of monitoring was observed on August 27 1998 by seven spacecraft. It came from the soft gamma repeater SGR1900+14. Like the March 5 1979 burst from SGR0525-66, it displayed a hard, short peak followed by a soft, long pulsating tail. The period of the pulsations, 5.16 s, is identical to the period of a quiescent soft X-ray source previously proposed as the counterpart to this SGR. In the magnetar model, the initial peak was probably caused by massive, large-scale cracking of the neutron star crust, while the soft tail is due to a hot plasma trapped in magnetosphere. This leads to an estimate of the magnetic field strength based on the energy in the soft tail, which is B>10(14) G.
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