Magnetars are rotating, highly magnetized neutron star
They were first observed on August 17, 1997, as a burst
of gamma ray
s and x-ray
s, lasting about five minutes,
and it was so powerful that noticable ionization
's upper atmosphere
was recorded, in amounts that
compete with our Sun
These bursts are due to earthquakes, or rather starquakes,
on the star's surface due to fluctuations in the extreme
magnetic field, causing the surface to crack open and
release a shower of high energy particles and gamma rays.
It is thought that magnetars can have a magnetic field
perhaps as strong as one million billion times the Earth's.