There is growing evidence for a class of neutron stars with magnetic fields approaching 10(15) G -- so-called magnetars. Such objects, with their Landau levels well in excess of the electron rest mass, are particularly interesting as they are wonderful laboratories to study quantum electrodynamics. Soft gamma-ray repeaters (SGR) and the anomalous X-ray pulsars (AXP) are the prime candidates for this class. Studies at high energies (X-ray and gamma-rays) are good at probing the nature of the central source (periodicity, in particular) whereas lower-energy studies (primarily radio) inform us of their ages (thanks to their association with supernova remnants) and provide unique diagnostics of the energy loss via particle winds. In one case, radio observations appear to show direct evidence for such a wind close to the object and in other case, the cumulative energy loss is traced by the radio nebulae. Recent X-ray and optical observations have uncovered a nearby magnetar candidate, RXJ 0725.4-3125. The talk will focus on the broad perspective provided by multi-wavelength observations, the relationship of these groups of interesting objects and the remaining outstanding issues in this field.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 1998