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Published March 10, 1994 | metadata_only
Journal Article

X-ray identification of the soft γ-ray repeater 1806 - 20


The nature of γ-ray bursters—astrophysical sources that emit abrupt bursts of γ-rays—presents a long-standing question in high-energy astronomy. Soft γ-ray repeaters (SGRs) are distinguished from classical γ-ray bursters by the short duration, softer γ-ray spectrum and recurrent activity of their outbursts. Millisecond-scale structure in these bursts suggests that SGRs are compact, and many models invoke neutron stars as the emitting objects. This idea is supported by the association of two SGRs, SGR0526 – 66 (ref. 6) and SGR1806 – 20 (ref. 7), with supernova remnants, SNR N49 and the radio nebula G10.0 – 0.3 respectively. Very recently, Kulkarni et al. have suggested that a compact radio source in G10.0 – 0.3 corresponds to a young pulsar at the centre of this nebula, and can be identified with SGR1806 – 20. Here we report the detection of a burst from SGR1806 – 20 with the X-ray satellite ASCA10, which allows us to identify the burster with a new X-ray source which we designate AX1805.7 – 2025. The burst is coincident in time with that detected by the BATSE instrument on board the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. This result provides strong evidence that SGRs are indeed neutron stars.

Additional Information

© 1994 Nature Publishing Group. Received 17 November 1993; accepted 11 January 1994. We thank C. Kouveliotou and the BATSE team for sending a quick notice and providing prompt information of bursts from SGR1806-20, and the ASCA team members for support. We also thank D. Helland, H. Inoue, F. Nagase and R. Mushotzky for discussions, S.R.K. is supported by NASA, the US NSF and the Packard Foundation. This work was partially supported by a Grant-in-Aid from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.

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August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023