Radio Emission from Magnetars

Question:  I’ve been researching magnetars independently for quite a while, but haven’t found many specifics on the radio emissions of magnetars. What do we know about the radio astronomy of magnetars? Is there a ‘fingerprint’ or defining aspect that tags a scan as a magnetar?  — Erica

Answer:  Magnetars are noteworthy for the intense bursts of X-ray and gamma ray radiation that they emit, which is a product of their intense magnetic fields.  They are basically a special breed of pulsar, differentiated from other pulsating neutron stars by having even stronger magnetic fields, and rotating comparatively slowly, with most magnetars completing a rotation once every one to ten seconds.  I am aware of only two magnetars which have been detected at radio wavelengths; XTE J1810-197 and 1E 1547.0-5408.  Their pulses are observed to be bright, narrow, and highly linearly-polarized.  In general, though, radio emission from magnetars appears to be rare.

Jeff Mangum

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