AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 198 Neutron Stars and Pulsars
Oral, Thursday, 10:00-11:30am, January 12, 2006, Balcony B

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[198.05] Fast X-ray Oscillations during the 1998 Magnetar Flare from SGR 1900+14: Evidence for Neutron Star Vibrations

T. E. Strohmayer (NASA/GSFC), A. L. Watts (MPA/Garching)

We report the discovery of complex high frequency variability during the August 27, 1998 giant flare from SGR 1900+14 using the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE). We detect an \approx 84 Hz oscillation (QPO) during a 1 s interval beginning approximately 1 min after the initial hard spike. The amplitude is energy dependent, reaching a maximum of 26% (rms) for photons above \approx 30 keV. Remarkably, additional QPOs are detected in the average power spectrum of data segments centered on the rotational phase at which the 84 Hz signal was detected. Two signals, at 53.5 and 155.1 Hz, are strongly detected, while a third feature at 28 Hz is found with lower significance. These QPOs are not detected at other rotational phases. The phenomenology seen in the SGR 1900+14 flare is similar to that of QPOs recently reported by Israel et al. from the December 27, 2004 flare from SGR 1806-20, suggesting they may have a common origin. An association of the four frequencies (in increasing order) found in SGR 1900+14 with l = 2, 4, 7, and 13 torsional vibration modes of the neutron star crust appears plausible. We discuss our findings in the context of this model and show that if the stars have similar masses then the magnetic field in SGR 1806-20 must be about twice as large as in SGR 1900+14, broadly consistent with estimates from pulse timing.

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The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: stroh@milkyway.gsfc.nasa.gov

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