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M.H. van Kerkwijk (Utrecht Univ.)
The Anomalous X-ray pulsars are so-called because it is not understood what powers them. Unlike the binary X-ray pulsars, there is no sign of a companion from which matter could be accreted; unlike radio pulsars, the rotational energy loss is insufficient. A number of exotic models have been suggested: accretion in ultra-compact binaries, accretion from an isolated disk left over from the birth process, decay of a super-strong (1015\,G) magnetic field in a ``magnetar,'' and spin-down of a rapidly rotating, very massive white dwarf produced in a merger. I will discuss these models, in particular in relation to the recent observational progress that has been made, using precise X-ray timing and deep optical observations.