Session 5: High Energy Astrophysics

Title: Soft Gamma Repeaters Magnetars
Author: C. Kouveliotou      Invited Speaker

Soft Gamma Repeaters form a class of neutron stars that emit persistent X-ray radiation and recurrent X-ray bursts in random patterns. These emissions are predominantly soft, with most of the photons at energies between 20 - 100 keV. SGRs have recently been found to possess ultra-high magnetic fields, of the order of 10^14-10^15 G. Such objects, dubbed "magnetars", had been predicted to exist in 1992, but the first concrete observational evidence were obtained in 1998 for two of these sources. I will discuss here the history of SGRs, their spectral, timing and flux characteristics both in the persistent and their burst emission. I will briefly describe the prevailing theories and link these sources with other objects in the field.