Giant Gamma-Ray Flares in Neutron Stars

Dr. Bennett Link
Department of Physics
Montana State University


Neutron stars are stellar remnants that contain matter at extreme densities, around 1015 gm/cm3, and far larger than what can be attained in terrestrial laboratories. Some neutron stars, "magnetars", possess the strongest magnetic fields known, in excess of 1015 G = 1011 T. They produce explosions in gamma rays that liberate more energy in 100 seconds than the Sun does at all wavelengths in 250,000 yr. I will describe the behavior of these fascinating objects, and theoretical work to understand them. This talk will be accessible to physics students at all levels.