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Observational Cosmology

Group members: Dario Maccagni, Paolo Franzetti, Bianca Garilli, Mari Polletta, Marco Scodeggio, Dario Bottini, Lucio Chiappetti, Letizia Cassarà, Alexander Fritz


This research activity is focused on understanding the evolution of galaxies from the assembly epoch to the present time, and it is primarily based on the analysis of multi-wavelength spectro-photometric data from large galaxy samples. We are especially interested in tracing the evolution of star formation activity in galaxies and understanding the processes that might trigger and regulate it. Emphasis is given to the various star formation rate indicators, to the environment, to the gas dynamics and to the role of active galactic nuclei. We developed analysis tools and templates to characterize the spectral energy distribution of galaxies and active galactic nuclei from ultraviolet to far-infrared wavelengths using stellar synthesis population models, galaxy templates, and dusty torus models.

We pursue these goals participating to several surveys:

  • VVDS (VIMOS VLT Deep Survey): this survey has been completed yielding 22187 galaxy redshifts in the Wide sample selected with 17.5 < IAB < 22.5, 11893 galaxy redshifts in the Deep sample with 17.5 < IAB < 24, and 721 galaxy redshifts in the ultra-deep sample with 23 < IAB < 24.75.

  • COSMOS (Cosmic Evolution Survey): a multi-wavelength observational effort, covering an area of 2 square degrees with observations from the X-rays (XMM-Newton and Chandra) and the UV (GALEX) to the optical (from the ground using SUBARU and the CFHT, and from space using ACS on board HST), the Near and Mid-infrared (Spitzer and Herschel), the sub-millimiter and the radio (VLA) wavelengths.

  • zCOSMOS, the redshift survey in the COSMOS field: this survey has been completed yelding 20706 galaxy redshifts in the Wide sample selected with 17.5 < IAB < 22.5, and 9523 galaxy redshifts in the Deep sample, selected using a number of color-color cuts to produce a sample of galaxies in the redshift range 1.4 < z < 3.5

  • VIPERS (VIMOS Public Extragalactic Redshift Survey): a on-going ESO Large Program survey aiming to collect 100,000 galaxy redshift measurements over an area of 24 square degrees, to study the details of the galaxies large-scale distribution.

  • VUDS (VIMOS Ultra-Deep Survey): an on-going ESO Legacy Large Program aiming at making a complete census of the star forming galaxy population at 2 < z < 6.7 by observing 10000 galaxies with VIMOS.

  • CLASH-VLT : an on-going ESO Large Program aiming to obtain redshift measurements in the fields of CLASH (Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble) clusters of galaxies.

  • MASSIV (Mass Assembly Survey with SINFONI in VVDS): a high-resolution spectroscopic survey of 84 star-forming galaxies drawn from the VVDS sample in the redshift range 0.9 < z < 2.2 designed to study the formation phase of galaxy disks.

  • SWIRE (Spitzer Wide-area Infra Red Extragalactic Survey): it is one of the largest Spitzer Legacy projects. It has imaged 6 wide fields, covering nearly 50 square degrees in total, and detecting over 2 million galaxies.

  • XMM-LSS (XMM-Newton Large Scale Structure Survey): an X-ray survey carried out with XMM-Newton, designed to probe the large scale distribution of clusters of galaxies out to z ~ 1, and of QSOs much further out.

  • XXL : an extension of the XMM-LSS survey to cover 50 square degrees of sky with moderately deep XMM-Newton X-ray observations.

  • Euclid : an ESA medium class mission to map the Dark Universe, selected for launch in 2019.

We also develop new tools for data reduction and analyis, within the Astronomical Software group.

See also the Observational Cosmology group page

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