INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova

L' INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova è una struttura di ricerca dell'Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica. L' attività principale dell'istituto è la ricerca scientifica nei vari campi dell'astrofisica, inclusa la progettazione e lo sviluppo di tecnologie innovative per strumentazione astronomica d’avanguardia. L'Osservatorio di Padova favorisce inoltre la diffusione della cultura scientifica grazie a progetti di didattica e divulgazione dell’Astronomia che si rivolgono alla Scuola e alla Società. 

Specola e Dipartimento di Fisica ed Astronomia.jpg

In evidenza

 Most star clusters (SCs, both young SCs and globular clusters) are collisional environments: their two-body relaxation timescale is shorter than their lifetime. Thus, dynamical interactions between stars drive the structural evolution of SCs. Particular importance have three-body encounters, that is gravitational encounters between a binary and a star. In fact, each binary has a energy reservoir (its internal energy) that can be exchanged with single stars during each dynamical interaction, altering the energetic budget of the SC. Direct N-Body codes are used to study the structural evolution of SCs, by accounting for both two-body and three-body (or few-body) encounters. As the dynamical evolution of a SC is deeply connected with the stellar evolution of its members, a number of direct N-body codes also include recipes for stellar evolution. Each particle in the simulation corresponds to a star, in the sense that it is associated not only with a mass, a position and a velocity, but also with a stellar type (main sequence, helium star, giant star, etc), a stellar radius, an effective temperature and luminosity. All these properties are evolved in time according to stellar and/or binary evolution recipes.
 The public software environment STARLAB (Portegies Zwart et al. 2001, includes recipes for both dynamics (through a fourth-order predictor-corrector Hermitian scheme) and stellar evolution. STARLAB is optimized to run on graphics processing units (GPUs), through the CUDA parallel computing architecture. The version of STARLAB which is being developed at OAPd includes accurate metallicity-dependent recipes for stellar evolution, stellar winds and remnant formation (Mapelli et al. 2013; Mapelli & Bressan 2013). This code is currently used to study: (i) the structural evolution of SCs with different metallicity; (ii) the evolution of exotic binaries in SCs (e.g., X-ray binaries, black hole-black hole binaries, etc.).

(i) Structural evolution of SCs with different metallicity (see Mapelli & Bressan 2013):
 The evaporation of stars from the core of a SC removes part of its kinetic energy. Since a SC  has negative heat capacity, this leads to gravothermal instability and to the collapse of the core. Core collapse in SCs is reversed mostly by the kinetic energy injected by three-body encounters (i.e. close encounters between stars and binaries). It has long been debated whether mass-loss by stellar winds and/or supernovae (SNe) is efficient in affecting core collapse. In fact, stellar winds and SNe eject mass from a SC, making the central potential well shallower and quenching the onset of gravothermal instability. The timescale for core collapse in young dense SCs is expected to be of the same order of magnitude as the lifetime of massive stars. Thus, mass-loss by stellar winds and SNe peaks during the epochs of core collapse and post-core collapse. Actually, mass-loss by stellar evolution is expected to delay the core collapse (quenching the gravothermal instability) and/or to reverse more rapidly the core collapse, depending on the interplay between core collapse timescale and massive star lifetime. Two further ingredients of this scenario are the dependence of mass-loss on stellar metallicity and the formation of stellar remnants. Stellar winds are suppressed at low metallicity. Thus, metal-rich SCs are expected to lose more mass by stellar winds than metal-poor ones.  Massive stars that end their life with mass higher than ~40 Msun are expected to collapse directly into black holes (BHs), with no or faint SN explosion (e.g. Fryer 1999). Massive metal-poor stars lose less mass by stellar winds, and thus are more likely to collapse directly into BHs. This mechanism allows to form BHs with mass higher than 25 Msun (e.g. Mapelli et al. 2009). If retained inside the SC, these BHs become the most massive objects in the SC after a few tens Myr, dominating the energy budget of three-body encounters.
 At OAPd, we investigate the importance of these effects through direct N-Body simulations. Figure 1 shows the SIMULATED behaviour of the core radius as a function of time for three different metallicities. The effect of metallicity appears immediately after the collapse, during the first phase of re-expansion: the core radius in metal-rich SCs expands more than in metal-poor SCs, as mass-loss by stellar winds in metal-rich SCs removes more matter from the core potential well.

FIGURE 1:fig1
Core radius as a function of time for 3 metallicities: Z=0.01 Zsun (solid red line), Z=0.1 Zsun (dashed black line) and Z=1 Zsun (dotted blue line). Each line in this Figure is the median value of 100 simulated SCs. In the insert: zoom of the first 7.5 Myr.

(ii) Exotic binaries (see Mapelli et al. 2013):
 The first data by second-generation ground-based gravitational wave detectors are upcoming: Advanced LIGO and VIRGO will start the scientific runs in 2015-2016. Thus, the first direct detection of gravitational waves from the merger of compact-object binaries might occur in the immediate future. Despite this, the available theoretical predictions and models to help interpreting these new data present many open issues. Firstly, most of the available predictions for the merger rate do not account for the environment of compact-object binaries. It is established that a large fraction of stars (~80%) form in SCs, i.e. in systems where dynamical interactions are essential. Most predictions for the merger of compact-object binaries consider only isolated field binaries, and miss the contribution of dynamics to the evolution of binaries. Secondly, the mass spectrum of compact objects with stellar origin, and in particular that of BHs is highly uncertain: while it is commonly believed that the mass of a stellar BH does not exceed 20 Msun, recent observations indicate the existence of at least one stellar BH in the Local Group with mass >20 Msun. Dynamical processes and stellar metallicity are two key ingredients to shape the mass spectrum of BHs. Dynamical interactions influence the mass of BHs, as they trigger mass transfer and mergers between stars and between stars and BHs. The metallicity of the progenitor star strongly influences the mass of the remnant, as metal-poor stars lose less mass by stellar winds than metal-rich stars (see Figure 2).
 At OAPd, we study the formation and evolution of compact-object binaries in young SCs, by means of direct N-body simulations. The results of such simulations are used to study the population of BH-BH, BH-NS, and NS-NS binaries. Software development is done in collaboration with Dr. Alessia Gualandris at the University of Leicester. The implications of the study of compact-object binaries for gravitational wave emission are addressed in the frame of the FIRB project `New perspectives on the violent Universe: unveiling the physics of compact objects with joint observations of gravitational waves and electromagnetic radiation' (2013-2016, PI: Branchesi, University of Urbino; CO-PIs: Mapelli, INAF; Razzano, University of Pisa). A PhD student is currently working on this project and other Master/PhD theses are available on topics related to the FIRB project.




FIGURE 2: Mass of the BHs versus zero age main sequence mass of the progenitor star, as derived by our code. The solid red line: 0.01 Zsun; the dotted black line: 0.1 Zsun; the dot–dashed green line: 0.3 Zsun and the dashed blue line: 1 Zsun.

People: Michela Mapelli, Luca Zampieri

Collaborations: Brunetto Ziosi (PhD student at UniPd), Marica Branchesi (University of Urbino, LIGO/Virgo collaboration), Massimiliano Razzano (University of Pisa), Alessandro Alberto Trani (Master student at UniMib), Alessandro Bressan (SISSA/ISAS), Alessia Gualandris (University of Leicester), Emanuele Ripamonti (University of Milano Bicocca), Andrea Possenti and Marta Burgay (INAF-Cagliari).

Recent pubblications: Mapelli et al. (2009, MNRAS, 395, 71); Mapelli et al. (2010, MNRAS, 408, 234)Mapelli et al. (2011, MNRAS, 416, 1756); Mapelli et al. (2013, MNRAS, 429, 2298); Mapelli & Bressan (2013, MNRAS, 430, 3120).

Posizioni 2012
Scadenza Posizione Vincitore            
21/12/2012 Selezione per il conferimento di una borsa di studio per laureati, dal titolo "SUPPORTO ALLA CALIBRAZIONE DELLA STEREO CAMERA (STC) PER LA MISSIONE BEPI COLOMBO" pdf + pdf
Elena Martellato
19/12/2012 Selezione per il conferimento di una borsa di studio per laureati, dal titolo "CARATTERIZZAZIONE DELLA VARIABILITÀ DELLE ULTRALUMINOUS X-RAY SOURCES" pdf
 Fabio Pintore
10/12/2012 Selezione per titoli ed eventuale colloquio per il conferimento di un assegno di ricerca dal titolo "INTEGRAZIONE SISTEMA OTTICA ADATTIVA MULTICONIUGATA" pdf  Luca Marafatto
10/12/2012 Selezione per titoli ed eventuale colloquio per il conferimento di un assegno di ricerca post-doc dal titolo "COMMISSIONING ED ANALISI DATI DELL’ESPERIMENTO PATHFINDER AD LBT" pdf
 Maria Bergomi
15/11/2012 Selezione per titoli ed eventuale colloquio per il conferimento di un assegno di ricerca Tip. A "post-doc" dal titolo: "OTTIMIZZAZIONE DELLA SUPERNOVA SURVEY CON EUCLID" pdf
Susanna Spiro
15/07/2012 Selezione pubblica per titoli, eventualmente integrata da un colloquio, per il conferimento di un assegno di ricerca dal titolo "ASSEMBLAGGIO, ALLINEAMENTO, VERIFICA E MESSA IN OPERAZIONE DI UN SENSORE DI FRONTE D’ONDA PER LINC-NIRVANA" pdf Valentina Viotto
15/07/2012 Selezione pubblica per titoli, eventualmente integrata da un colloquio, per il conferimento di un assegno di ricerca dal titolo "VISUALIZZAZIONE TRIDIMENSIONALE DI SISTEMI ADATTIVI ED INTERFEROMETRICI COMPLESSI" pdf  Marco Dima
07/05/2012 Selezione per il conferimento di una borsa di studio per laureati, dal titolo "FOTOMETRIA PSF SU DATI VISTA"  pdf Stefano Rubele
07/05/2012 Selezione per titoli ed eventuale colloquio per il conferimento di un assegno di ricerca postdoc dal titolo "SVILUPPO DI MODELLI NUMERICI PER L'INTERPRETAZIONE DI EVENTI DI SUPERNOVA CORE-COLLAPSE"  pdf Maria Letizia Pumo
04/05/2012 Selezione per il conferimento di una borsa di studio per laureati, dal titolo "MISURA DELL'EFFICIENZA NELLA RICERCA DI SUPERNOVAE NELL'INFRAROSSO"  pdf  Matteo Miluzio
10/02/2012 Selezione per titoli ed eventuale colloquio per il conferimento di un assegno di ricerca postdoc dal titolo "GALASSIE SUPER-DENSE NELLE PARTI INTERNE E IN QUELLE PERIFERICHE DEGLI AMMASSI WINGS DELLE IMMAGINI OMEGACAM"  pdf Marco Gullieuszick     




The study concerns with the emission from dust in galaxies in the approximate wavelength range from 10-1000 micron. It combines Spitzer, Herschel and Planck satellite data in order to build a detailed picture of the interaction between star formation and far-infrared emission in nearby galaxies. Understanding the infrared emission from nearby galaxies is of particular interest because star forming galaxies can often only be observed at very large distances in this waveband. Therefore, if we are to understand the very distant, very young objects, that we see in the early Universe, we must first understand those that are close enough to permit detailed study.

Figure 1: component modified black body fits to some example galaxies selected from the Planck Early Release Compact Source Catalogue.

Person: Marcel Clemens, Gianfranco DeZotti, Mattia Negrello, Roberto Rampazzo.
Collaborators: L. Bonavera, Joaquin Gonzales Nuevo, L. Danese, J. Davies.

Recent publication: Negrello M., et al., 2013, MNRAS, 429, 1309; Auld R., et al., 2013, MNRAS, 428, 1880; Davies J.I., et al., 2013, MNRAS, 428, 834; Davies J.I., et al., 2012, MNRAS, 419, 3505; Clemens M.S., Panuzzo P., Rampazzo R., Vega O., Bressan A., 2011, MNRAS, 412, 2063; Baes M., et al., 2010, A&A, 518, L53; Clemens M.S., et al., 2010, A\&A, 518, L50

We performed a large set of  simulations of galaxy encounters using a smooth particle hydrodynamic (SPH) code implemented with chemo-photometric evolutionary population synthesis models. Our simulations start from the same initial conditions as described in Mazzei & Curir (2003), i..e. collapsing triaxial systems  composed of dark matter (DM) and gas in different proportion and different total mass. Each simulation self-consistently provides morphological, dynamic and chemo-photometric evolution. The spectral energy distribution (SED) extends over four order of magnitude in wavelenght, i.e. from 0.06 micron to 1 mm including extinction and re-emission by dust.  All the model parameters had been tuned in previous works.

Our simulations, which best-fit the global properties of several local galaxies, give insight into their evolutiom. We analyzed  a polar ring galaxy, ESO474-G26 (Spavone et a. 2012), and galaxies of different morphological types in groups, like the early-type galaxy (ETG) NGC3934 and its spiral companion NGC3933 (Bettoni et al. 2011) in the NGC3934 group. We focused on the evolution of the central regions of the NGC1023 large group (Bettoni et al. 2012), and on the central galaxies of two local poor groups: NGC4756 and NGC5328 (Trinchieri et al. 2012), giving also consistent predictions of their X-ray emission. Recently, we highlight the evolution of eight ETGs in the U376 and LGG225 groups, both  in the Leo cloud (Mazzei et al. 2104a) and of  two S0 galaxies, NGC3626 and NGC1533. NGC1533, in particular,  shows a very peculiar UV morphology, well matched by our simulation of a major merger (mass ratio 2:1) as in the figure below  (Mazzei et al 2014b).

NGC1533 figura finale

For the first time, we outlined the evolution of galaxies in the rest-frame UV color - absolute magnitude diagram, i.e., NUV-r versus Mr [AB] absolute magnitude. The transition from the blue sequence to the red sequence in this diagram (figure below, blue lines) lasts about 4 Gyr and corresponds to a morphological transformation from late-type disk galaxies to ETGs, as in the case of all the bright ETGs diagram in  the U376 group we simulated (red points in the diagram below, Mazzei et al. 2014a).

CDM U376

People:   Paola Mazzei

Collaborators: D. Bettoni, L. Buson, R. Rampazzo, (INAF, OAPd); A. Marino and G. Galletta (UniPd); Trinchieri, G. and Wolter, A. (Brera, INAF)

Recent pubblications: Bettoni et al (2011), A&A, 534, 24;  Bettoni et al. (2012), MNRAS, 423, 2957;  Spavone et al. (2012), MNRAS, 426, 2003; Trincheri et al (2012), A&A 545, 140; Marino et al. (2013), MNRAS, 428, 476; Mazzei et al. (2014a), ApJ 782, 53; Mazzei et al (2014b), AdSpR 53, 920


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  • Scoperto nel 2010, l’asteroide della fascia principale 2010 CV60 era stato dedicato – dall’astronoma dell'Agenzia spaziale statunitense Amy Mainzer – alla cantautrice scomparsa ieri, giovedì 16 agosto, all’età di 76 anni

  • È dallo scorso 10 giugno che il rover Opportunity della Nasa non dà segni di vita. Ma la tempesta di polvere che lo ha costretto all’isolamento sembra placarsi, e i tecnici della missione si preparano a tentare di ristabilire un collegamento

  • In orbita stetta attorno a una stella a 650 anni luce da noi, il gigante gassoso ha una temperatura elevatissima: oltre 4000 gradi. La rilevazione dei metalli è avvenuta grazie allo strumento Harps-N del Tng. Fra gli autori dello studio, pubblicato oggi su Nature, c’è anche Emilio Molinari, direttore dell’Inaf di Cagliari

  • Inauguriamo con quest’intervista a Lorenzo Amati, principal investigator di Theseus, uno speciale in tre puntate dedicato alle missioni – Theseus, appunto, Spica ed EnVision – in corsa per la selezione M5 dell’Esa, l’Agenzia spaziale europea

  • I protoni presenti nei nuclei degli atomi più pesanti sembrano avere in media più “vigore” dei neutroni, e questo proprio per il fatto di essere in minoranza. Fenomeno che dovrebbe dunque presentarsi ancora più marcato nelle stelle di neutroni. Lo studio oggi su Nature

  • Sono fino a mille volte più luminose della Via Lattea, ma oscurate da gas e polveri: gli astronomi le hanno chiamate Hot Dog. Per la prima volta, grazie a uno studio guidato da Luca Zappacosta dell'Inaf di Roma, possiamo vedere queste galassie in dettaglio nei raggi X

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