AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 75 Rossi Prize Lectures: Magnetars
Invited, Wednesday, January 7, 2004, 8:30-9:20am, Centennial I/II

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[75.01] Magnetars - Observations

C. Kouveliotou (NASA/MSFC, USRA)

Magnetars are slowly spinning (P~ 5-11 s) neutron stars with extremely high magnetic fields, of the order of 1015 G. They were all discovered in soft gamma/hard X-rays, and, given the stringent observational requirements for the establishment of their nature, only a handful of magnetar sources are confirmed to date. These are all persistent X-ray sources exhibiting random outbursts of hundreds of short, soft bursts per episode. Three sources have been also detected in optical/infrared wavelengths. All but one lie in the Galactic plane and none is a confirmed member of a binary system. I will discuss here a brief history of their discovery and describe their observational properties.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.