Astrophys. J., 889, L27-L27 (2020/February-1)
Simultaneous magnetic polar cap heating during a flaring episode from the magnetar 1RXS J170849.0-400910.
YOUNES G., BARING M.G., KOUVELIOTOU C., WADIASINGH Z., HUPPENKOTHEN D. and HARDING A.K.
Abstract (from CDS):
During a pointed 2018 NuSTAR observation, we detected a flare with a 2.2 hr duration from the magnetar 1RXS J170849.0-400910. The flare, which rose in ∼25 s to a maximum flux 6 times larger than the persistent emission, is highly pulsed with an rms pulsed fraction of 53%. The pulse profile shape consists of two peaks separated by half a rotational cycle, with a peak flux ratio of ∼2. The flare spectrum is thermal with an average temperature of 2.1 keV. Phase-resolved spectroscopy shows that the two peaks possess the same temperature, but differ in size. These observational results, along with simple light curve modeling, indicate that two identical antipodal spots, likely the magnetic poles, are heated simultaneously at the onset of the flare and for its full duration. Hence, the origin of the flare has to be connected to the global dipolar structure of the magnetar. This might best be achieved externally, via twists to closed magnetospheric dipolar field lines seeding bombardment of polar footpoint locales with energetic pairs. Approximately 1.86 hr following the onset of the flare, a short burst with its own 3 minutes thermal tail occurred. The burst tail is also pulsating at the spin period of the source and phase-aligned with the flare profile, implying an intimate connection between the two phenomena. The burst may have been caused by a magnetic reconnection event in the same twisted dipolar field lines anchored to the surface hot spots, with subsequent return currents supplying extra heat to these polar caps.
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Neutron stars - Magnetars - X-ray bursts
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