Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

HXMT identification of a non-thermal X-ray burst from SGR J1935+2154 and with FRB 200428


Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are short pulses observed in the radio band from cosmological distances1. One class of models invokes soft gamma-ray repeaters (SGRs), or magnetars, as the sources of FRBs2. Some radio pulses have been observed from some magnetars3, but no FRB-like events have been detected in association with any magnetar burst, including one giant flare4. Recently, a pair of FRB-like bursts (termed FRB 200428) separated by 29 milliseconds were detected from the general direction of the Galactic magnetar SGR J1935+2154 (refs. 5,6). Here, we report the detection of a non-thermal X-ray burst in the 1–250 keV energy band with the Insight-HXMT satellite7, which we identify as having been emitted from SGR J1935+2154. The burst showed two hard peaks with a separation of 34 milliseconds, broadly consistent with that of the two bursts in FRB 200428. The delay time between the double radio peak and the X-ray peaks is about 8.62 s, fully consistent with the dispersion delay of FRB 200428. We thus identify the non-thermal X-ray burst to be associated with FRB 200428, whose high-energy counterpart is the two hard X-ray peaks. Our results suggest that the non-thermal X-ray burst and FRB 200428 share the same physical origin in an explosive event from SGR J1935+2154.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Localization of the burst using Insight-HXMT HE, ME and LE data.
Fig. 2: The lightcurves and the spectrum evolution during the burst of SGR J1935+2145 observed with Insight-HXMT.
Fig. 3: The spectrum observed with Insight-HXMT covers the 1–250 keV energy band.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the Insight-HXMT website ( or

Code availability

The Insight-HXMT data reduction was performed using software available from the Insight-HXMT website ( or The model fitting of spectra was completed with XSPEC, which is available from the HEASARC website (


  1. Lorimer, D. R., Bailes, M., McLaughlin, M. A., Narkevic, D. J. & Crawford, F. A bright millisecond radio burst of extragalactic origin. Science 318, 777 (2007).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  2. Petroff, E., Hessels, J. W. T. & Lorimer, D. R. Fast radio bursts. Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 27, 4 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Camilo, F. et al. Transient pulsed radio emission from a magnetar. Nature 442, 892–895 (2006).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Tendulkar, S. P., Kaspi, V. M. & Patel, C. Radio nondetection of the SGR 1806-20 giant flare and implications for fast radio bursts. Astrophys. J. 827, 59 (2016).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  5. The CHIME/FRB Collaboration. A bright millisecond-duration radio burst from a Galactic magnetar. Nature 587, 54–58 (2020).

  6. Bochenek, C. D. et al. A fast radio burst associated with a Galactic magnetar. Nature 587, 59–62 (2020).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  7. Zhang, S.-N. et al. Overview to the hard X-ray modulation telescope (Insight-HXMT) satellite. Sci. China Phys. Mech. Astron. 63, 249502 (2020).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  8. Israel, G. L. et al. The discovery, monitoring and environment of SGR J1935+2154. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 457, 3448–3456 (2016).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  9. Younes, G. et al. X-ray and radio observations of the magnetar SGR J1935+2154 during its 2014, 2015, and 2016 outbursts. Astrophys. J. 847, 85 (2017).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  10. Lin, L. et al. Burst properties of the most recurring transient magnetar SGR J1935+2154. Astrophys. J. 893, 156 (2020).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  11. Lin, L. et al. Fermi/GBM view of the 2019 and 2020 burst active episodes of SGR J1935+2154. Astrophys. J. Lett. 902, L43 (2020).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  12. Kozlova, A. V. et al. The first observation of an intermediate flare from SGR 1935+2154. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 460, 2008–2014 (2016).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  13. Palmer, D. M. A forest of bursts from SGR 1935+2154. GRB Coord. Netw. 27665 (2020).

  14. Younes, G. et al. The NICER view of the 2020 burst storm and persistent emission of SGR 1935+2154. Astrophys. J. Lett. 904, L21 (2020).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  15. Mereghetti, S. et al. INTEGRAL discovery of a burst with associated radio emission from the magnetar SGR 1935+2154. Astrophys. J. Lett. 898, L29 (2020).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  16. Ridnaia, A. et al. A peculiar hard X-ray counterpart of a Galactic fast radio burst. Nat. Astron. (2021).

  17. Kothes, R., Sun, X., Gaensler, B. & Reich, W. A radio continuum and polarization study of SNR G57.2+0.8 associated with magnetar SGR 1935+2154. Astrophys. J. 852, 54 (2018).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  18. Katz, J. I. Coherent emission in fast radio bursts. Phys. Rev. D. 89, 103009 (2014).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  19. Kumar, P., Lu, W. & Bhattacharya, M. Fast radio burst source properties and curvature radiation model. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 468, 2726–2739 (2017).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  20. Yang, Y.-P. & Zhang, B. Bunching coherent curvature radiation in three-dimensional magnetic field geometry: application to pulsars and fast radio bursts. Astrophys. J. 868, 31 (2018).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  21. Lyubarsky, Y. A model for fast extragalactic radio bursts. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 442, L9–L13 (2014).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  22. Plotnikov, I. & Sironi, L. The synchrotron maser emission from relativistic shocks in fast radio bursts: 1D PIC simulations of cold pair plasmas. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 485, 3816–3833 (2019).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  23. Thompson, C. & Duncan, R. C. The soft gamma repeaters as very strongly magnetized neutron stars. I. Radiative mechanism for outbursts. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 275, 255–300 (1995).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  24. Israel, G. L. et al. A Swift gaze into the 2006 March 29 burst forest of SGR 1900+14. Astrophys. J. 685, 1114–1128 (2008).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  25. Lin, L. et al. Broadband spectral investigations of SGR J1550-5418 bursts. Astrophys. J. 756, 54 (2012).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  26. Lin, L. et al. No pulsed radio emission during a bursting phase of a Galactic magnetar. Nature 587, 63–65 (2020).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  27. Guidorzi, C. et al. A search for prompt γ-ray counterparts to fast radio bursts in the Insight-HXMT data. Astron. Astrophys. 637, A69 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Marcote, B. et al. A repeating fast radio burst source localized to a nearby spiral galaxy. Nature 577, 190–194 (2020).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  29. Zhang, S. et al. The enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry mission—eXTP. Sci. China Phys. Mech. Astron. 62, 29502 (2019).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  30. Zhang, S. et al. The Insight-HXMT mission and its recent progresses. Proc. SPIE 10699, 106991U (2018).

    Google Scholar 

  31. Li, X. et al. In-flight calibration of the insight-hard x-ray modulation telescope. J. High Energy Astrophys. 27, 64–76 (2020).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  32. Liu, C. et al. The High Energy X-ray telescope (HE) onboard the Insight-HXMT astronomy satellite. Sci. China Phys. Mech. Astron. 63, 249503 (2020).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  33. Cao, X. et al. The Medium Energy X-ray telescope (ME) onboard the Insight-HXMT astronomy satellite. Sci. China Phys. Mech. Astron. 63, 249504 (2020).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  34. Chen, Y. et al. The Low Energy X-ray telescope (LE) onboard the Insight-HXMT astronomy satellite. Sci. China Phys. Mech. Astron. 63, 249505 (2020).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  35. Xiao, S. et al. Deadtime calculation method of the High Energy X-ray telescope (HE) onboard the Insight-HXMT satellite. J. High Energy Astrophys. 26, 58–64 (2020).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  36. Nang, Y. et al. In-orbit calibration to the point-spread function of Insight-HXMT. J. High Energy Astrophys. 25, 39–47 (2020).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  37. Sai, N. et al. Methodology and performance of the two-year Galactic plane scanning survey of Insight-HXMT. J. High Energy Astrophys. 26, 1–10 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Guan, J. et al. A modified direct demodulation method applied to Insight-HXMT Galactic plane scanning survey. J. High Energy Astrophys. 26, 11–20 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This work made use of the data from the Insight-HXMT mission, a project funded by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The Insight-HXMT team gratefully acknowledges support from the National Program on Key Research and Development Project (grant number 2016YFA0400800) from the Minister of Science and Technology of China (MOST) and the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant number XDB23040400). We acknowledge support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China under grants U1838105, U1838111, U1838113, U1838202, 11473027, 11733009, U1838201, 1173309, U1838115, U1938109, Y829113, 11673023, U1838104 and 11703002.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



T.P.L. was the initial proposer and Principal Investigator of Insight-HXMT. S.N.Z. has been the current Principal Investigator of Insight-HXMT since 2016, and organized the observations, data analysis and presentation of the results, writing and editing of the paper. L.L. proposed the target-of-opportunity observation, wrote much of the paper and participated in discussions. S.L.X. participated in organizing the observations, data analysis, discussion and paper writing. F.J.L. is a leader in building Insight-HXMT and participated in organizing the data analysis, discussions and paper writing. C.K.L. is the main contributor to the data analysis and participated in paper writing. B.Z. is responsible for theoretical interpretation, and participated in organizing the observations, discussions and paper writing. M.Y.G., Y.L.T., X.B.L., Y.N., S.X., Y.C., L.M.S., Y.T., X.F.Z., C.Z.L., S.M.J., J.Y.L. and B.L. participated in the data analysis and discussion. All other authors contributed to developing, building and operating the Insight-HXMT payloads and science data centre.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to T. P. Li, F. J. Lu or S. N. Zhang.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Peer review informationNature Astronomy thanks the anonymous reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figs. 1–6 and Tables 1–6.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Li, C.K., Lin, L., Xiong, S.L. et al. HXMT identification of a non-thermal X-ray burst from SGR J1935+2154 and with FRB 200428. Nat Astron 5, 378–384 (2021).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing