Star formation history and x-ray binary populations: The case of the small magellanic cloud

V. Antoniou*, A. Zezas, D. Hatzidimitriou, V. Kalogera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Using Chandra, XMM-Newton, and optical photometric catalogs we study the young X-ray binary (XRB) populations of the Small Magellanic Cloud. We find that the Be/X-ray binaries (Be-XRBs) are observed in regions with star formation rate bursts ∼25-60 Myr ago. The similarity of this age with the age of maximum occurrence of the Be phenomenon (∼40 Myr) indicates that the presence of a circumstellar decretion disk plays a significant role in the number of observed XRBs in the 10-100 Myr age range. We also find that regions with strong but more recent star formation (e.g., the Wing) are deficient in Be-XRBs. By correlating the number of observed Be-XRBs with the formation rate of their parent populations, we measure a Be-XRB production rate of ∼1 system per 3 × 10-3 M ȯyr-1. Finally, we use the strong localization of the Be-XRB systems in order to set limits on the kicks imparted on the neutron star during the supernova explosion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L140-L145
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2 PART 2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Magellanic Clouds
  • X-rays: binaries
  • pulsars: general
  • stars: early-type
  • stars: emission-line, Be
  • stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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