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Soft Gamma-Ray Repeater Light Echoes Captured by Swift Satellite

The X-Ray Telescope (XRT) aboard NASA's Swift satellite captured light echoes from a soft-gamma-ray repeater. These stellar remnants, which are thought to be highly magnetized neutron stars called magnetars, occasionally belt out a series of X- and gamma-ray flares. On Jan. 22, 2009, an object known as SGR J1550-5418 began its second and most intense round of outbursts since October 2008. In the following days, Swift's XRT captured what appears to be an expanding halo as X-rays from the brightest bursts scatter off of intervening dust. Multiple rings form as the X-rays interact with different dust clouds. Closer clouds produce larger rings. Both the rings and their apparent expansion are an effect of light's finite speed and the longer path the scattered light must travel. They will be studied to make a more reliable measurement of the distance to the source and to the dust clouds.


For More Information

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/swift/bursts/gammaray_fireworks.html


Credits

Stefanie Misztal (UMBC): Producer
Francis Reddy (SPSYS): Writer
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Swift/Jules Halpern (Columbia Univ.)

Short URL to share this page:
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?10366

Mission:
Swift

Data Used:
Swift None

This item is part of this series:
Astrophysics Visualizations

Keywords:
SVS >> Gamma Ray
SVS >> HDTV
SVS >> Neutron Star
SVS >> X-ray
SVS >> Gamma Ray Burst
SVS >> Astrophysics
SVS >> Swift
SVS >> Gamma Ray Observatory
SVS >> Magnetar
NASA Science >> Universe