PoS - Proceedings of Science
Volume 395 - 37th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC2021) - GAD - Gamma Ray Direct
Magnetar giant flare in NGC 253 seen by Fermi-GBM
E. Bissaldi*, O. Roberts, P. Veres, M. Baring, M.S. Briggs, C. Kouveliotou, G. Younes, S.I. Chastain, J. DeLaunay, D. Huppenkothen, A. Tohuvavohu, P.N. Bhat, E. Gogus, A. van der Horst, J. Kennea, D. Kocevski, J.D. Linford, S. Guiriec, R. Hamburg, C. Wilson-Hodge and E. Burns
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Pre-published on: July 12, 2021
Published on: March 18, 2022
Magnetar giant flares (MGFs) are enormous eruptions likely triggered by surface disruptions in
magnetars, neutron stars with the strongest-known magnetic fields. Such events can be detected
in both X- and gamma-ray bands, but are very rare. Almost 30 magnetars have been cataloged in
our Galaxy, exhibiting occasional X-ray activity, but only two have produced giant flares to date.
The most recent one, emitted by SGR 1806-20 in 2004, showed an initial very short and bright
main spike, causing the saturation of the observing instruments and thus precluding reliable flux

Here we report the observation and analysis of GRB 200415A, a very short and bright Gamma-
Ray Burst detected by the Fermi Gamma-Ray Burst Monitor (GBM) as well as by several other
instruments participating in the InterPlanetary Network (IPN) system, which located it in a region
spatially coincident with the nearby galaxy NGC 253. Analysis of the event revealed peculiar
spectral and temporal properties, which are not typically seen in GRBs: a very short rise time
of the initial hard spike, strong submillisecond variability, a flat spectrum, and an unusually low
isotropic energy release. A mild hint of periodicity in the event’s tail was also detected. Therefore
we concluded that GRB 200415A is not a classical short GRB due to the merger of two binary
neutron stars, but rather a MGF produced by an extragalactic magnetar.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.22323/1.395.0605
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