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  1. Abstract Magnetars, isolated neutron stars with magnetic-field strengths typically ≳10 14 G, exhibit distinctive months-long outburst epochs during which strong evolution of soft X-ray pulse profiles, along with nonthermal magnetospheric emission components, is often observed. Using near-daily NICER observations of the magnetar SGR 1830-0645 during the first 37 days of a recent outburst decay, a pulse peak migration in phase is clearly observed, transforming the pulse shape from an initially triple-peaked to a single-peaked profile. Such peak merging has not been seen before for a magnetar. Our high-resolution phase-resolved spectroscopic analysis reveals no significant evolution of temperature despite the complex initial pulse shape, yet the inferred surface hot spots shrink during peak migration and outburst decay. We suggest two possible origins for this evolution. For internal heating of the surface, tectonic motion of the crust may be its underlying cause. The inferred speed of this crustal motion is ≲100 m day −1 , constraining the density of the driving region to ρ ∼ 10 10 g cm −3 , at a depth of ∼200 m. Alternatively, the hot spots could be heated by particle bombardment from a twisted magnetosphere possessing flux tubes or ropes, somewhat resembling solar coronal loops, thatmore »untwist and dissipate on the 30–40 day timescale. The peak migration may then be due to a combination of field-line footpoint motion (necessarily driven by crustal motion) and evolving surface radiation beaming. This novel data set paints a vivid picture of the dynamics associated with magnetar outbursts, yet it also highlights the need for a more generic theoretical picture where magnetosphere and crust are considered in tandem.« less
  2. Abstract We report on NICER X-ray monitoring of the magnetar SGR 1830−0645 covering 223 days following its 2020 October outburst, as well as Chandra and radio observations. We present the most accurate spin ephemerides of the source so far: ν = 0.096008680(2) Hz, ν ̇ = − 6.2 ( 1 ) × 10 − 14 Hz s −1 , and significant second and third frequency derivative terms indicative of nonnegligible timing noise. The phase-averaged 0.8–7 keV spectrum is well fit with a double-blackbody (BB) model throughout the campaign. The BB temperatures remain constant at 0.46 and 1.2 keV. The areas and flux of each component decreased by a factor of 6, initially through a steep decay trend lasting about 46 days, followed by a shallow long-term one. The pulse shape in the same energy range is initially complex, exhibiting three distinct peaks, yet with clear continuous evolution throughout the outburst toward a simpler, single-pulse shape. The rms pulsed fraction is high and increases from about 40% to 50%. We find no dependence of pulse shape or fraction on energy. These results suggest that multiple hot spots, possibly possessing temperature gradients, emerged at outburst onset and shrank as the outburst decayed.more »We detect 84 faint bursts with NICER, having a strong preference for occurring close to the surface emission pulse maximum—the first time this phenomenon is detected in such a large burst sample. This likely implies a very low altitude for the burst emission region and a triggering mechanism connected to the surface active zone. Finally, our radio observations at several epochs and multiple frequencies reveal no evidence of pulsed or burst-like radio emission.« less
  3. ABSTRACT Over the last four decades, persistent and flaring emission of magnetars observed by various telescopes has provided us with a suite of light curves and spectra in soft and hard X-rays, with no emission yet detected above around 1 MeV. Attenuation of such high-energy photons by magnetic pair creation and photon splitting is expected to be active in the magnetospheres of magnetars, possibly accounting for the paucity of gamma-rays in their signals. This paper explores polarization-dependent opacities for these two QED processes in static vacuum dipole magnetospheres of highly magnetized neutron stars, calculating attenuation lengths and determining escape energies, which are the maximum photon energies for transparency out to infinity. The numerical trajectory integral analysis in flat and curved space–times provides upper bounds of a few MeV or less to the visible energies for magnetars for locales proximate to the stellar surface. Photon splitting opacity alone puts constraints on the possible emission locales in their magnetospheres: regions within field loops of maximum altitudes $\, r_{{\rm max}}\sim 2\!-\!4\,$ stellar radii are not commensurate with maximum detected energies of around 250 keV. These constraints apply not only to magnetar flares but also to their quiescent hard X-ray tail emission. An exploration ofmore »photon splitting attenuation in the context of a resonant inverse Compton scattering model for the hard X-ray tails derives distinctive phase-resolved spectroscopic and polarimetric signatures, of significant interest for future MeV-band missions such as AMEGO and e-ASTROGAM.« less