Detection of two bright FRB-like radio bursts from magnetar SGR 1935+2154 during a multi-frequency monitoring campaign

9 Jul 2020  ·  F. Kirsten, M. Snelders, M. Jenkins, K. Nimmo, J. van den Eijnden, J. Hessels, M. Gawronski, J. Yang ·

The recent CHIME/FRB and STARE2 detection of an extremely bright (fluence ~MJy ms) radio burst from the Galactic magnetar SGR 1935+2154 supports the hypothesis that (some) fast radio bursts (FRBs) are emitted by magnetars at cosmological distances. With the aim of detecting more bursts from SGR 1935+2154, we performed monitoring observations of the source using (up to) four small radio telescopes observing simultaneously at complementary radio frequencies, spanning the range from 327 MHz to 8.6 GHz. In close to four weeks of almost daily monitoring (265 hrs on source) we detected two bright radio bursts that are separated in time by only 1.4 seconds, i.e. separated by 43% of the 3.25-s rotational period of this neutron star. The bursts have fluences of 112+/-22 Jy ms and 24+/-5 Jy ms, respectively, and we measure a scattering time scale of 313+/-31 us at 1.32 GHz. Given the proximity of the bursts in time, we estimate the shape parameter k and rate parameter r of an assumed Weibull distribution and find k significantly less than one. This suggests a non-Poissonian, clustered emission process and is consistent with what has been measured for FRB 121102. Together with the CHIME/FRB and STARE2 burst, as well as a faint (fluence 60 mJy ms) burst reported by FAST, these observations demonstrate that SGR 1935+2154 can produce bursts with apparent energies spanning roughly 7 orders of magnitude. This raises the question whether they all arise from similar physical processes and whether the FRB population distribution extends to very low energies (~10^30 erg, isotropic equivalent).

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena