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Astrophysical Journal


The soft gamma repeater SGR 1900+14 entered a new phase of activity in 2001 April initiated by the intermediate flare recorded on April 18. Ten days following this flare, we discovered an abrupt increase in the source flux between consecutive Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) orbits. This X-ray flux excess decayed over the next several minutes and was subsequently linked to a high fluence burst from SGR 1900+14 recorded by other spacecraft (Ulysses and Wind/Konus) while the SGR was Earth-occulted for RXTE. We present here spectral and temporal analysis of both the burst of April 28 and the long X-ray tail following it. We find strong evidence of an exclusively thermal X-ray tail in this event and bring this evidence to bear on other bursts and flares from SGR 1900+14 that have shown extended X-ray excesses (e.g., 1998 August 29). We include in this comparison a discussion of the physical origins of SGR bursts and extended X-ray tails.

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