P. Castangia

Università degli studi di Cagliari, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

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Publications (41)97.65 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We have analyzed the NVSS and SUMSS data at 1.4 GHz and 843 MHz for a well defined complete sample of hard X-ray AGN observed by INTEGRAL. A large number (70/79) of sources are detected in the radio band, showing a wide range of radio morphologies, from unresolved or slightly resolved cores to extended emission over several hundreds of kpc scales. The radio fluxes have been correlated with the 2-10 keV and 20-100 keV emission, revealing significant correlations with slopes consistent with those expected for radiatively efficient accreting systems. The high energy emission coming from the inner accretion regions correlates with the radio emission averaged over hundreds of kpc scales (i.e., thousands of years).
    11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Very long baseline interferometry at millimetre/submillimetre wavelengths (mmVLBI) offers the highest achievable spatial resolution at any wavelength in astronomy. The anticipated inclusion of ALMA as a phased array into a global VLBI network will bring unprecedented sensitivity and a transformational leap in capabilities for mmVLBI. Building on years of pioneering efforts in the US and Europe the ongoing ALMA Phasing Project (APP), a US-led international collaboration with MPIfR-led European contributions, is expected to deliver a beamformer and VLBI capability to ALMA by the end of 2014 (APP: Fish et al. 2013, arXiv:1309.3519). This report focuses on the future use of mmVLBI by the international users community from a European viewpoint. Firstly, it highlights the intense science interest in Europe in future mmVLBI observations as compiled from the responses to a general call to the European community for future research projects. A wide range of research is presented that includes, amongst others: - Imaging the event horizon of the black hole at the centre of the Galaxy - Testing the theory of General Relativity an/or searching for alternative theories - Studying the origin of AGN jets and jet formation - Cosmological evolution of galaxies and BHs, AGN feedback - Masers in the Milky Way (in stars and star-forming regions) - Extragalactic emission lines and astro-chemistry - Redshifted absorption lines in distant galaxies and study of the ISM and circumnuclear gas - Pulsars, neutron stars, X-ray binaries - Testing cosmology - Testing fundamental physical constants
    06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Large column densities, derived from X-ray studies, are typically measured towards active galactic nuclei (AGN) hosting water masers, especially when the H2O emission is associated with the nuclear accretion disc. In addition, possible correlations between the intrinsic X-ray luminosity and the characteristics of the H2O maser emission have been put forward that, however, require confirmation. We have performed high-sensitivity XMM-Newton observations of a sample of five H2O maser sources confidently detected in our ongoing survey with the Swift satellite of all known water masers in AGN, in order to obtain detailed X-ray information of these promising targets and to set up a systematic detailed study of the X-ray/H2O maser relation in AGN. For three galaxies, NGC 613, VII Zw 73 and IRAS 16288+3929, the amount of intrinsic absorption has been estimated, indicating column densities of 4-6 × 1023 cm-2. For UGC 3789 and NGC 6264 (the two confirmed disc-maser galaxies in our sample), column densities in excess of 1 × 1024 cm-2 are inferred from the large EW of the Fe Kα line. By adding our results to those obtained in past similar studies, we find that the percentage of water masers sources that host highly obscured (NH > 1023 cm-2) and Compton-thick AGN is 96 (45/47) and 57 per cent (27/47), respectively. In addition, 86 per cent, 18/21 of disc-maser galaxies host Compton-thick AGN. The correlation between the galaxies' bolometric luminosity and accretion disc radius, suggested in previous works, is also confirmed.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 12/2013; 436(4):3388-3398. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Large column densities, derived from X-ray studies, are typically measured towards AGN hosting water masers, especially when the H2O emission is associated with the nuclear accretion disk. In addition, possible correlations between the intrinsic X-ray luminosity and the characteristics of the H2O maser emission have been put forward that, however, require confirmation. We have performed high-sensitivity XMM-Newton observations of a sample of five H2O maser sources confidently detected in our ongoing survey with the Swift satellite of all known water masers in AGN, in order to obtain detailed X-ray information of these promising targets and to set up a systematic detailed study of the X-ray/H2O-maser relation in AGN. For three galaxies, NGC 613, VIIZw73, and IRAS 16288+3929, the amount of intrinsic absorption has been estimated, indicating column densities of 4-6x10^23 cm^-2. For UGC 3789 and NGC 6264 (the two confirmed disk-maser galaxies in our sample), column densities in excess of 1x10^24 cm^-2 are inferred from the large EW of the Fe Kalpha line. By adding our results to those obtained in past similar studies, we find that the percentage of water masers sources that host highly-obscured (NH>10^23 cm^-2) and Compton-thick AGN is 96% (45/47) and 57% (27/47), respectively. In addition, 86%, 18/21, of disk maser galaxies host Compton-thick AGN. The correlation between the galaxies' bolometric luminosity and accretion disk radius, suggested in previous works, is also confirmed.
    09/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We monitored the 22 GHz maser line in the lensed quasar MG J0414+0534 at z=2.64 with the 300-m Arecibo telescope for almost two years to detect possible additional maser components and to measure a potential velocity drift of the lines. The main maser line profile is complex and can be resolved into a number of broad features with line widths of 30-160 km/s. A new maser component was tentatively detected in October 2008 at a velocity of +470 km/s. After correcting for the estimated lens magnification, we find that the H2O isotropic luminosity of the maser in MG J0414+0534 is about 26,000 solar luminosities, making this source the most luminous ever discovered. Both the main line peak and continuum flux densities are surprisingly stable throughout the period of the observations. An upper limit on the velocity drift of the main peak of the line has been estimated from our observations and is of the order of 2 km/s per year. We discuss the results of the monitoring in terms of the possible nature of the maser emission, associated with an accretion disk or a radio jet. This is the first time that such a study is performed in a water maser source at high redshift, potentially allowing us to study the parsec-scale environment around a powerful radio source at cosmological distances.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 04/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: [Abridged] Narrow-line Seyfert 1 (NLS1) galaxies are a class of active galactic nuclei (AGN) that have all the properties of type 1 Seyfert galaxies but show peculiar characteristics, including the narrowest Balmer lines, strongest Fe II emission, and extreme properties in the X-rays. Line and continuum radio observations provide an optimal tool to access the (often) optically obscured innermost regions of AGN and reveal the kinematics of the gas around their central engines. We investigate the interplay between the peculiar NLS1 class of AGN and the maser phenomenon, to help us understand the nature of the maser emission in some NLS1s where water maser emission has been detected. We observed a sample of NLS1 galaxies with the Green Bank Telescope in a search for water maser emission at 22 GHz. We also reduced and analysed archival Green Bank Telescope and Very Large Array data and produced 22-GHz spectra for the five NLS1 galaxies with detected maser emission. In particular, we imaged the maser and nuclear radio continuum of NGC5506 at subarcsec scales with the Very Large Array. We discovered maser emission in two NLS1 galaxies: IGRJ16385-2057, and IRAS03450+0055. In addition to the three previously known maser detections in the NLS1s Mrk766, NGC4051, and NGC5506, this yields a water maser detection rate in NLS1 galaxies of ~7% (5/71). This value rises significantly to ~21% (5/24) when considering only NLS1 galaxies at recessional velocities less than 10000 km/s. For NGC4051 and NGC5506, we find that the water maser emission is located within 5 and 12 pc, respectively, of nuclear radio continuum knots, which are interpreted as core-jet structures.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 07/2011; 532. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The study of water masers at cosmological distances would allow us to investigate the parsec-scale environment around powerful radio sources, to probe the physical conditions of the molecular gas in the inner parsecs of quasars, and to estimate their nuclear engine masses in the early universe. To derive this information, the nature of the maser source, jet or disk-maser, needs to be assessed through a detailed investigation of the observational characteristics of the line emission. We monitored the maser line in the lensed quasar MGJ0414+0534 at z = 2.64 with the 300-m Arecibo telescope for ~15 months to detect possible additional maser components and to measure a potential velocity drift of the lines. In addition, we follow the maser and continuum emissions to reveal significant variations in their flux density and to determine correlation or time-lag, if any, between them. The main maser line profile is complex and can be resolved into a number of broad features with line widths of 30-160 km/s. A new maser component was tentatively detected in October 2008 that is redshifted by 470 km/s w.r.t the systemic velocity of the quasar. The line width of the main maser feature increased by a factor of two between the Effelsberg and EVLA observations reported by Impellizzeri et al. (2008) and the first epoch of the Arecibo monitoring campaign. After correcting for the lens magnification, we find that the total H2O isotropic luminosity of the maser in MGJ0414+0534 is now ~30,000 Lsun, making this source the most luminous ever discovered.[Abridged]
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 03/2011; 529. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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  • 01/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Context. Very luminous extragalactic water masers, the megamasers, are associated with active galactic nuclei (AGN) in galaxies characterized by accretion disks, radio jets, and nuclear outflows. Weaker masers, the kilomasers, seem to be related mostly to star formation activity, although the possibility exists that some of these sources may belong to the weak tail of the AGN maser distribution. Aims: It is particularly important to accurately locate the water maser emission to reveal its origin and shed light on extragalactic star-forming activity or to elucidate the highly obscured central regions of galaxies. Methods: We performed interferometric observations of three galaxies, NGC 3556, Arp 299, and NGC 4151, where water emission was found. Statistical tools were used to study the relation between OH and H2O maser emission in galaxies. Results: The maser in NGC 3556 is associated with a compact radio continuum source that is most likely a supernova remnant or radio supernova. In Arp 299, the luminous water maser has been decomposed in three main emitting regions associated with the nuclear regions of the two main galaxies of the system, NGC 3690 and IC 694, and the region of overlap. In NGC 4151, only one of the two previously observed maser components has been tentatively detected. This feature, if real, is associated with the galaxy's central region. The only galaxy, so far, where luminous maser emission from two maser species, OH and H2O, has been confidently detected is Arp 299. Weaker masers from these two species instead coexist in a number of objects. A search for emission from both maser species in a larger number of galaxies is, however, needed to assess these last two results better. Table 5 is only available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 01/2011; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    01/2011;
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    01/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: The gravitational lens system MG J0414+0534 is formed by an elliptical galaxy at redshift ~0.96 and a quasar at z~2.64. The system geometry is typical of lensing by an elliptical galaxy with the QSO close to and inside a fold caustic. It shows 4 images of the background source, and a partial Einstein ring is visible at optical wavelengths. It was observed with a global-VLBI array at 18 cm in June 2008. We present here the imaging results and a preliminary lens model constrained by these observations. Comment: submitted to the proceedings of 10th European-VLBI network Symposium. 6 pages, 1 figure
    11/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: Providing bright, almost point like hotspots, water masers are a powerful tool to investigate the structure and dynamics of the emitting gas, because they can be mapped at submilliarcsecond resolution using VLBI. In particular, detailed studies of luminous water masers in AGN provide constraints on the accretion disk geometry, estimates of black-hole masses and of the distance to parent galaxies. Since, so far, detection rates of water maser searches have been disappointingly low, increasing the number of such sources is highly desirable. Here, we propose to observe with The 70-m Tidbinbilla a complete sample of southern AGN selected in the hard X-ray band between 20 and 40 keV from INTEGRAL/IBIS observations, in a search for water maser emission at 22 GHz. Our selection criterion is supported by recent observational evidences indicating the existence of a correlation between hard X-ray emission and the water maser phenomenon. Together with providing new maser sources, this study will also allow us to investigate, on a firm statistical basis, the interplay between hard X-ray and maser emission in AGN.
    ATNF Proposal. 10/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: Luminous extragalactic water masers are known to be associated with AGN and have provided accurate estimates for the mass of the central supermassive black hole and the size and structure of the accretion disk in nearby galaxies. To find water masers at much higher redshifts, we have begun a survey of known gravitationally lensed quasars and star-forming galaxies. In this paper, we present a search for 22 GHz (rest frame) water masers toward five dusty, gravitationally lensed quasars and star-forming galaxies at redshifts 2.3--2.9 with the Effelsberg telescope and the EVLA. Our observations do not find any new definite examples of high redshift water maser galaxies, suggesting that large reservoirs of dust and gas are not a sufficient condition for powerful water maser emission. However, we do find the tentative detection of a water maser system in the active galaxy IRAS 10214+4724 at redshift 2.285. Our survey has now doubled the number of lensed galaxies and quasars that have been searched for high redshift water masers. We present an analysis of the high redshift water maser luminosity function that is based on the results presented here and from the only cosmologically distant (z > 1) water maser galaxy found thus far, MG J0414+0534 at redshift 2.64. By comparing with the luminosity function locally and at moderate redshifts, we find that there must be some evolution in the luminosity function of water maser galaxies at high redshifts. By assuming a moderate evolution [(1 + z )^4] in the luminosity function, we find that blind surveys for water maser galaxies are only worthwhile with extremely high sensitivity like that of the planned Square Kilometre Array. However, instruments like the EVLA and MeerKAT will be capable of detecting water maser systems similar to the one found from MG J0414+0534 through targeted observations. Comment: 10 pages, 4 figures, 4 tables, accepted for publication in MNRAS
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 09/2010; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Very luminous extragalactic water masers, the megamasers, are associated with active galactic nuclei (AGN) in galaxies characterized by accretion disks, radio jets, and nuclear outflows. Weaker masers, the kilomasers, seem to be mostly related to star formation activity, although the possibility exists that some of these sources may belong to the weak tail of the AGN maser distribution. It is of particular importance to accurately locate the water maser emission to reveal its origin and shed light onto extragalactic star forming activity or to elucidate the highly obscured central regions of galaxies. We performed interferometric observations of three galaxies, NGC3556, Arp299, and NGC4151, where water emission was found. Statistical tools have been used to study the relation between OH and water maser emission in galaxies. The maser in NGC3556 is associated with a compact radio continuum source that is most likely a supernova remnant or radio supernova. In Arp299, the luminous water maser has been decomposed in three main emitting regions associated with the nuclear regions of the two main galaxies of the system, NGC3690 and IC694, and the region of overlap. In NGC4151, only one of the two previously observed maser components has been tentatively detected. This feature, if real, is associated with the galaxy's central region. The only galaxy, so far, where luminous maser emission from two maser species, OH and H2O has been confidently detected is Arp299. Weaker masers from these two species do instead coexist in a number of objects. A larger number of objects searched for both maser species are, however, necessary to better assess these last two results. Comment: 19 pages, 11 figures, 5 tables. Accepted by Astronomy & Astrophysics
    08/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: Correlations between X-ray and water maser emission in AGN have been recently reported. However, the lack of systematic studies affects the confidence level of these results. In the following, we introduce a project aimed at studying all the water maser sources believed to be associated with AGN activity through X-ray data obtained with the XRT and BAT instruments on-board the Swift satellite. Preliminary results of this work indicate a promising rate of XRT detections allowing us to refine follow-up observing strategies focused on investigating the nuclei of individual galaxies and deriving, on statistical basis, the main characteristics of water maser hosts. In addition, a cross-correlation between our sample and the BAT 22-months all-sky survey provides an exceptionally high detection rate at hard X-ray energies when compared to other AGN-related catalogs.
    07/2010;
  • 01/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: Correlations between X-ray and water maser emission in AGN have been recently reported. However, the lack of systematic studies affects the confidence level of these results. In the following, we introduce a project aimed at studying all the water maser sources believed to be associated with AGN activity through X-ray data obtained with the XRT and BAT instruments on-board the Swift satellite. Preliminary results of this work indicate a promising rate of XRT detections allowing us to refine follow-up observing strategies focused on investigating the nuclei of individual galaxies and deriving, on statistical basis, the main characteristics of water maser hosts. In addition, a cross-correlation between our sample and the BAT 22-months all-sky survey provides an exceptionally high detection rate at hard X-ray energies when compared to other AGN-related catalogs. Comment: 4 pages, 1 figure, to appear in refereed Proceedings of "X-ray Astronomy 2009: Present Status, Multi-Wavelength Approach and Future Perspectives", Bologna, Italy, September 7-11, 2009, AIP, eds. A. Comastri, M. Cappi, and L. Angelini
    12/2009;
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, a relationship between the water maser detection rate and far infrared (FIR) flux densities has been established as a result of two 22 GHz maser surveys in a complete sample of galaxies (Dec>-30 degree) with 100 micron flux densities of > 50 Jy and > 30 Jy. This survey has been extended to the southern galaxies in order to discover new maser sources and to investigate the galaxies hosting the maser spots with particular emphasis on their nuclear regions. A sample of 12 galaxies with Dec<-30 degree and S(100 micron)>50 Jy was observed with the 70-m telescope of the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) at Tidbinbilla (Australia) in a search for water maser emission. The average 3 sigma noise level of the survey is 15 mJy for a 0.42 km/s channel, corresponding to a detection threshold of ~0.1 solar luminosities for the isotropic maser luminosity at a distance of 25 Mpc. Two new detections are reported: a kilomaser with an isotropic luminosity L_H2O ~5 solar luminosities in NGC3620 and a maser with about twice this luminosity in the merger system NGC3256. The detections have been followed-up through continuum and spectral line interferometric observations with the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA). In NGC3256, a fraction (about a third) of the maser emission arises from two hot spots associated with star formation activity, which are offset from the galactic nuclei of the system. The remaining emission may arise from weaker centers of maser activity distributed over the central 50 arcsec. [abridged] Comment: 13 pages, 9 figures, accepted by Astronomy and Astrophysics
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 04/2009; · 5.08 Impact Factor