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A fast radio burst associated with a Galactic magnetar

Bochenek, C. D. and Ravi, V. and Belov, K. V. and Hallinan, G. and Kocz, J. and Kulkarni, S. R. and McKenna, D. L. (2020) A fast radio burst associated with a Galactic magnetar. Nature, 587 (7832). pp. 59-62. ISSN 0028-0836.

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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 1: Time series and dynamic spectrum of FRB 200428 at each station) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 2: Fits to data on FRB 200428 in four sub-bands) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 3: Volumetric rates of FRBs) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 4: Upper limits on fast radio transients from other flares of SGR 1935+2154 observable by STARE2) - Supplemental Material
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Since their discovery in 2007, much effort has been devoted to uncovering the sources of the extragalactic, millisecond-duration fast radio bursts (FRBs). A class of neutron stars known as magnetars is a leading candidate source of FRBs. Magnetars have surface magnetic fields in excess of 10¹⁴ gauss, the decay of which powers a range of high-energy phenomena5. Here we report observations of a millisecond-duration radio burst from the Galactic magnetar SGR 1935+2154, with a fluence of 1.5 ± 0.3 megajansky milliseconds. This event, FRB 200428 (ST 200428A), was detected on 28 April 2020 by the STARE2 radio array in the 1,281–1,468 megahertz band. The isotropic-equivalent energy released in FRB 200428 is 4 × 10³ times greater than that of any radio pulse from the Crab pulsar—previously the source of the brightest Galactic radio bursts observed on similar timescales7. FRB 200428 is just 30 times less energetic than the weakest extragalactic FRB observed so far, and is drawn from the same population as the observed FRB sample. The coincidence of FRB 200428 with an X-ray burst favours emission models that describe synchrotron masers or electromagnetic pulses powered by magnetar bursts and giant flares. The discovery of FRB 200428 implies that active magnetars such as SGR 1935+2154 can produce FRBs at extragalactic distances.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access Paper ItemCode
Bochenek, C. D.0000-0003-3875-9568
Ravi, V.0000-0002-7252-5485
Belov, K. V.0000-0002-8861-110X
Hallinan, G.0000-0002-7083-4049
Kocz, J.0000-0003-0249-7586
Kulkarni, S. R.0000-0001-5390-8563
Additional Information:© 2020 Nature Publishing Group. Received 12 May 2020; Accepted 21 September 2020; Published 04 November 2020. We thank the then director of OVRO, A. Readhead, for funds (derived from the Alan Moffet Funds) that allowed us to start this project. The Caltech and Jet Propulsion Laboratory President’s and Director’s Fund enabled us to build the second system at Goldstone and the third system near Delta, Utah. We are thankful to Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratories for the second round of funding. C.D.B., a PhD student, was partially supported by the Heising-Simons foundation. We also thank S. Weinreb and D. Hodge for building the front-end and back-end boxes, J. Lagrange for support at GDSCC, J. Matthews and the Telescope Array Collaboration for assistance at Delta, and the entire OVRO staff, in particular J. Lamb, D. Woody and M. Catha, for support. We thank S. Phinney and W. Lu for comments on the manuscript. A portion of this research was performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This research was additionally supported by the National Science Foundation under grant AST-1836018. This research made use of Astropy, a community-developed core Python package for Astronomy. This research also used the SIMBAD database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France. Data availability: Data are available upon request. These data are in a public archive by the Caltech Library at Code availability: Custom code is available at The code used to fit the burst profiles is available on request. Author Contributions: S.R.K., C.D.B., D.L.M., V.R., K.V.B. and G.H. conceived and developed the STARE2 concept and observing strategy. C.D.B., D.L.M., K.V.B., J.K. and S.R.K. led the construction and initial deployment of STARE2. C.D.B., D.L.M., K.V.B., V.R., J.K. and G.H. designed and built the STARE2 subsystems. C.D.B., D.L.M. and K.V.B. commissioned STARE2. C.D.B. operated STARE2, performed the localization and transient rate analyses, as well as the searches for sub-threshold events and events associated with other SGR flares. V.R. extracted the properties of the burst. C.D.B. and V.R. led the writing of the manuscript with the assistance of all co-authors. The authors declare no competing interests. Peer review information: Nature thanks Evan Keane and Amanda Weltman for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Owens Valley Radio ObservatoryUNSPECIFIED
JPL President and Director's FundUNSPECIFIED
Heising-Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Astronomical instrumentation; Compact astrophysical objects; High-energy astrophysics; Time-domain astronomy; Transient astrophysical phenomena
Issue or Number:7832
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200604-151508525
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Bochenek, C.D., Ravi, V., Belov, K.V. et al. A fast radio burst associated with a Galactic magnetar. Nature 587, 59–62 (2020).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:103719
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:05 Jun 2020 14:05
Last Modified:10 Dec 2020 22:44

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