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Space Science Reviews

, Volume 191, Issue 1–4, pp 315–338 | Cite as

Magnetars: Properties, Origin and Evolution

  • Sandro Mereghetti
  • José A. Pons
  • Andrew Melatos
Article

Abstract

Magnetars are neutron stars in which a strong magnetic field is the main energy source. About two dozens of magnetars, plus several candidates, are currently known in our Galaxy and in the Magellanic Clouds. They appear as highly variable X-ray sources and, in some cases, also as radio and/or optical pulsars. Their spin periods (2–12 s) and spin-down rates (∼10−13–10−10 s s−1) indicate external dipole fields of ∼1013−15 G, and there is evidence that even stronger magnetic fields are present inside the star and in non-dipolar magnetospheric components. Here we review the observed properties of the persistent emission from magnetars, discuss the main models proposed to explain the origin of their magnetic field and present recent developments in the study of their evolution and connection with other classes of neutron stars.

Keywords

Neutron star Magnetic field Magnetar 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank all the staff of the International Space Science Institute and the organizers of the stimulating Workshop “The Strongest Magnetic Fields in the Universe”. The work of SM has been partially supported through the agreement ASI-INAF I/037/12/0. JAP acknowledges support of the Spanish national grant AYA 2013-42184-P and of the New Compstar COST action MP1304. AM acknowledges support of an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant and is grateful to Nicole Darman for assistance with typesetting.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandro Mereghetti
    • 1
  • José A. Pons
    • 2
  • Andrew Melatos
    • 3
  1. 1.INAF IASF-MilanoMilanoItaly
  2. 2.Departament de Física AplicadaUniversitat d’AlacantAlacantSpain
  3. 3.School of PhysicsUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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