F. Calura

The Astronomical Observatory of Brera, Merate, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (105)296.68 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present a direct comparison between the observed star formation rate functions (SFRFs) and the state-of-the-art predictions of semi-analytic models (SAMs) of galaxy formation and evolution. We use the PACS Evolutionary Probe Survey and Herschel Multi-tiered Extragalactic Survey data sets in the COSMOS and GOODS-South fields, combined with broad-band photometry from UV to sub-mm, to obtain total (IR+UV) instantaneous star formation rates (SFRs) for individual Herschel galaxies up to z ∼ 4, subtracted of possible active galactic nucleus (AGN) contamination. The comparison with model predictions shows that SAMs broadly reproduce the observed SFRFs up to z ∼ 2, when the observational errors on the SFR are taken into account. However, all the models seem to underpredict the bright end of the SFRF at z ≳ 2. The cause of this underprediction could lie in an improper modelling of several model ingredients, like too strong (AGN or stellar) feedback in the brighter objects or too low fallback of gas, caused by weak feedback and outflows at earlier epochs.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 06/2015; 451(4). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv1204 · 5.23 Impact Factor
  • The Astrophysical Journal 04/2015; 803(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/803/1/35 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have studied the effects of various initial mass functions (IMFs) on the chemical evolution of the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy (Sgr). In particular, we tested the effects of the integrated galactic initial mass function (IGIMF) on various predicted abundance patterns. The IGIMF depends on the star formation rate and metallicity and predicts less massive stars in a regime of low star formation, as it is the case in dwarf spheroidals. We adopted a detailed chemical evolution model following the evolution of $\alpha$-elements, Fe and Eu, and assuming the currently best set of stellar yields. We also explored different yield prescriptions for the Eu, including production from neutron star mergers. Although the uncertainties still present in the stellar yields and data prevent us from drawing firm conclusions, our results suggest that the IGIMF applied to Sgr predicts lower [$\alpha$/Fe] ratios than classical IMFs and lower [hydrostatic/explosive] $\alpha$-element ratios, in qualitative agreement with observations. In our model, the observed high [Eu/O] ratios in Sgr is due to reduced O production, resulting from the IGIMF mass cutoff of the massive oxygen-producing stars, as well as to the Eu yield produced in neutron star mergers, a more promising site than core-collapse supernovae, although many uncertainties are still present in the Eu nucleosynthesis. We find that a model, similar to our previous calculations, based on the late addition of iron from the Type Ia supernova time-delay (necessary to reproduce the shape of [X/Fe] vs. [Fe/H] relations) but also including the reduction of massive stars due to the IGIMF, better reproduces the observed abundance ratios in Sgr than models without the IGIMF.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 02/2015; 449(2). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv357 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a backward approach for the interpretation of the evolution of the near-infrared and the far-infrared luminosity functions across the redshift range 0<z<3. In our method, late-type galaxies are treated by means of a parametric phenomenological method based on PEP/HerMES data up to z~4, whereas spheroids are described by means of a physically motivated backward model. The spectral evolution of spheroids is modelled by means of a single-mass model, associated to a present-day elliptical with K-band luminosity comparable to the break of the local early-type luminosity function. The formation of proto-spheroids is assumed to occurr across the redshift range 1< z < 5. The key parameter is represented by the redshift z_0.5 at which half proto-spheroids are already formed. A statistical study indicates for this parameter values between z_0.5=1.5 and z_0.5=3. We assume as fiducial value z_0.5~2, and show that this assumption allows us to describe accourately the redshift distributions and the source counts. By assuming z_0.5 ~ 2 at the far-IR flux limit of the PEP-COSMOS survey, the PEP-selected sources observed at z>2 can be explained as progenitors of local spheroids caught during their formation. We also test the effects of mass downsizing by dividing the spheroids into three populations of different present-day stellar masses. The results obtained in this case confirm the validity of our approach, i.e. that the bulk of proto-spheroids can be modelled by means of a single model which describes the evolution of galaxies at the break of the present-day early type K-band LF.
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    ABSTRACT: We trace the formation and advection of several elements within a cosmological adaptive mesh refinement simulation of an L⋆ galaxy. We use nine realizations of the same initial conditions with different stellar initial mass functions (IMFs), mass limits for Type II and Type Ia supernovae (SNII, SNIa) and stellar lifetimes to constrain these subgrid phenomena. Our code includes self-gravity, hydrodynamics, star formation, radiative cooling and feedback from multiple sources within a cosmological framework. Under our assumptions of nucleosynthesis we find that SNII with progenitor masses of up to 100 M⊙ are required to match low-metallicity gas oxygen abundances. Tardy SNIa are necessary to reproduce the classical chemical evolution ‘knee’ in [O/Fe]–[Fe/H]: more prompt SNIa delayed time distributions do not reproduce this feature. Within our framework of hydrodynamical mixing of metals and galaxy mergers we find that chemical evolution is sensitive to the shape of the IMF and that there exists a degeneracy with the mass range of SNII. We look at the abundance plane and present the properties of different regions of the plot, noting the distinct chemical properties of satellites and a series of nested discs that have greater velocity dispersions are more α-rich and metal poor with age.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 10/2014; 444(4). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stu1709 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We trace the formation and advection of several elements within a cosmological adaptive mesh refinement simulation of an L* galaxy. We use nine realisations of the same initial conditions with different stellar Initial Mass Functions (IMFs), mass limits for type-II and type-Ia supernovae (SNII, SNIa) and stellar lifetimes to constrain these sub-grid phenomena. Our code includes self-gravity, hydrodynamics, star formation, radiative cooling and feedback from multiple sources within a cosmological framework. Under our assumptions of nucleosynthesis we find that SNII with progenitor masses of up to 100 Msun are required to match low metallicity gas oxygen abundances. Tardy SNIa are necessary to reproduce the classical chemical evolution knee in [O/Fe]-[Fe/H]: more prompt SNIa delayed time distributions do not reproduce this feature. Within our framework of hydrodynamical mixing of metals and galaxy mergers we find that chemical evolution is sensitive to the shape of the IMF and that there exists a degeneracy with the mass range of SNII. We look at the abundance plane and present the properties of different regions of the plot, noting the distinct chemical properties of satellites and a series of nested discs that have greater velocity dispersions, are more alpha-rich and metal poor with age.
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    ABSTRACT: The nature of some GRB host galaxies has been investigated by means of chemical evolution models of galaxies of different morphological types following the evolution of the abundances of H, He, C, N, O, α-elements, Ni, Fe, Zn, and including also the evolution of dust. By comparing predictions with abundance data, we were able to constrain nature and age of GRB hosts. We also computed a theoretical cosmic dust rate, including stellar dust production, accretion and destruction, under the hypotheses of pure luminosity evolution and strong number density evolution of galaxies. We suggest that one of the three GRB hosts is a massive protospheroid caught during its formation, while for the other two the situation is more uncertain, although one could perhaps be a spheroid and the other a spiral galaxy. We estimated the chemical ages of the host galaxies which vary from 15 to 320 Myr. Concerning the cosmic effective dust production rate in a unitary volume of the Universe, our results show that in the case of pure luminosity evolution there is a first peak between redshift z = 8 and 9 and another at z ∼ 5, whereas in the case of strong number density evolution, it increases slightly from z = 10 to z ∼ 2 and then it decreases down to z = 0. Finally, we found that the total cosmic dust mass density at the present time is Ωdust ∼ 3.5 × 10−5 in the case of pure luminosity evolution, and Ωdust ∼ 7 × 10−5 in the case of number density evolution.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2014; 444(2). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stu1500 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    Francesco Calura · Nicola Menci · Anna Gallazzi
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    ABSTRACT: By means of a semi-analytic model of galaxy formation, we show how the local observed relation between age and galactic stellar mass is affected by assuming a DM power spectrum with a small-scale cutoff. We compare results obtained by means of both a Lambda-cold dark matter (LambdaCDM) and a Lambda-warm dark matter (LambdaWDM) power spectrum - suppressed with respect to the LambdaCDM at scales below ~ 1 Mpc. We show that, within a LWDM cosmology with a thermal relic particle mass of 0.75 keV, both the mass-weighted and the luminosity-weighted age-mass relations are steeper than those obtained within a LambdaCDM universe, in better agreement with the observed relations. Moreover, both the observed differential and cumulative age distributions are better reproduced within a LambdaWDM cosmology. In such a scenario, star formation appears globally delayed with respect to the LambdaCDM, in particular in low-mass galaxies. The difficulty of obtaining a full agreement between model results and observations is to be ascribed to our present poor understanding of baryonic physics.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 02/2014; 440(3). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stu339 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a study of the environment of the Swift long gamma-ray burst GRB 120327A at z ~2.8 through optical spectroscopy of its afterglow. We analyzed medium-resolution, multi-epoch spectroscopic observations (~7000 - 12000, corresponding to ~ 15 - 23 km/s, S/N = 15- 30 and wavelength range 3000-25000AA) of the optical afterglow of GRB 120327A, taken with X-shooter at the VLT 2.13 and 27.65 hr after the GRB trigger. The first epoch spectrum shows that the ISM in the GRB host galaxy at z = 2.8145 is extremely rich in absorption features, with three components contributing to the line profiles. The hydrogen column density associated with GRB 120327A has log NH / cm^(-2) = 22.01 +/- 0.09, and the metallicity of the host galaxy is in the range [X/H] = -1.3 to -1.1. In addition to the ground state lines, we detect absorption features associated with excited states of CII, OI, SiII, FeII, and NiII, which we used to derive information on the distance between the host absorbing gas and the site of the GRB explosion. The variability of the FeI\lambda2396 excited line between the two epochs proves that these features are excited by the GRB UV flux. Moreover, the distance of component I is found to be dI=200+100-60 pc, while component II is located closer to the GRB, at dII=100+40-30 pc. These values are among the lowest found in GRBs. Component III does not show excited transitions, so it should be located farther away from the GRB. The presence of H2 molecules is firmly established, with a molecular fraction in the range f=4 X 10^(-7) - 10^(-4). This particularly low value can be attributed to the small dust content. This represents the third positive detection of molecules in a GRB environment.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 02/2014; 564. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201323057 · 4.48 Impact Factor
  • S. Recchi · F. Calura · B. K. Gibson · P. Kroupa
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this paper is to quantify the amplitude of the predicted plateau in [α/Fe] ratios associated with the most metal-poor stars of a galaxy. We assume that the initial mass function (IMF) in galaxies is steeper if the star formation rate (SFR) is low - as per the integrated galactic initial mass function (IGIMF) theory. A variant of the theory, in which the IGIMF depends upon the metallicity of the parent galaxy, is also considered. The IGIMF theory predicts low [α/Fe] plateaus in dwarf galaxies, characterized by small SFRs. The [α/Fe] plateau is up to 0.7 dex lower than the corresponding plateau of the Milky Way. For a universal IMF one should expect instead that the [α/Fe] plateau is the same for all the galaxies, irrespective of their masses or SFRs. Assuming a strong dependence of the IMF on the metallicity of the parent galaxy, dwarf galaxies can show values of the [α/Fe] plateau similar to those of the Milky Way, and almost independent of the SFR. The [Mg/Fe] ratios of the most metal-poor stars in dwarf galaxies satellites of the Milky Way can be reproduced either if we consider metallicity-dependent IMFs or if the early SFRs of these galaxies were larger than we presently think. Present and future observations of dwarf galaxies can help disentangle between these different IGIMF formulations.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 01/2014; 437(1):994-1008. DOI:10.1093/mnras/stt1971 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    F. Calura · L. Ciotti · C. Nipoti
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    ABSTRACT: The mass returned to the ambient medium by aging stellar populations over cosmological times sums up to a significant fraction (20% - 30% or more) of their initial mass. This continuous mass injection plays a fundamental role in phenomena such as galaxy formation and evolution, fueling of supermassive black holes in galaxies and the consequent (negative and positive) feedback phenomena, and the origin of multiple stellar populations in globular clusters. In numerical simulations the calculation of the mass return can be time consuming, since it requires at each time step the evaluation of a convolution integral over the whole star formation history, so the computational time increases quadratically with the number of time-steps. The situation can be especially critical in hydrodynamical simulations, where different grid points are characterized by different star formation histories, and the gas cooling and heating times are shorter by orders of magnitude than the characteristic stellar lifetimes. In this paper we present a fast and accurate method to compute the mass return from stellar populations undergoing arbitrarily complicated star formation histories. At each time-step the mass return is calculated from its value at the previous time, and the star formation rate over the last time-step only. Therefore in the new scheme there is no need to store the whole star formation history, and the computational time increases linearly with the number of time-steps.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 12/2013; 440(4). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stu391 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report ALMA Cycle 0 observations at 1.3mm of LESS J033229.4-275619 (XID403), an Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxy at $z=4.75$ in the Chandra Deep Field South hosting a Compton-thick QSO. The source is not resolved in our data at a resolution of $\sim$0.75 arcsec, placing an upper-limit of 2.5 kpc to the half-light radius of the continuum emission from heated-dust. After deconvolving for the beam size, however, we found a $\sim3\sigma$ indication of an intrinsic source size of $0.27\pm0.08$ arcsec (Gaussian FWHM), which would correspond to $r_{half}\sim0.9\pm0.3$ kpc. We build the far-IR SED of XID403 by combining datapoints from both ALMA and Herschel and fit it with a modified blackbody spectrum. For the first time, we measure the dust temperature $T_d=58.5\pm5.3$ K in this system, which is comparable to what has been observed in other high-z submillimeter galaxies. The measured star formation rate is SFR=$1020\pm150$ $M_{\odot}$ yr$^{-1}$, in agreement with previous estimates at lower S/N. Based on the measured SFR and source size, we constrain the SFR surface density to be $\Sigma_{SFR}>26\;M_{\odot}$yr$^{-1}$kpc$^{-2}$ ($\sim200\;M_{\odot}$yr$^{-1}$kpc$^{-2}$ for $r_{half}\sim0.9$ kpc). The compactness of this starburst is comparable to what has been observed in other local and high-z starburst galaxies. If the gas mass measured from previous [CII] and CO(2-1) observations at low resolution is confined within the same dust region, assuming $r_{half}\sim0.9\pm0.3$ kpc, this would produce a column density of $N_H\sim0.3-1.1\times10^{24}$cm$^{-2}$ towards the central SMBH, similar to the column density of $\approx1.4\times10^{24}$cm$^{-2}$ measured from the X-rays. Then, in principle, if both gas and dust were confined on sub-kpc scales, this would be sufficient to produce the observed X-ray column density without any need of a pc-scale absorber [abridged].
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 12/2013; 562. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201322892 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Infrared observations of high-z quasar (QSO) hosts indicate the presence of large masses of dust in the early universe. When combined with other observables, such as neutral gas masses and star formation rates, the dust content of z~6 QSO hosts may help constraining their star formation history. We have collected a database of 58 sources from the literature discovered by various surveys and observed in the FIR. We have interpreted the available data by means of chemical evolution models for forming proto-spheroids, investigating the role of the major parameters regulating star formation and dust production. For a few systems, given the derived small dynamical masses, the observed dust content can be explained only assuming a top-heavy initial mass function, an enhanced star formation efficiency and an increased rate of dust accretion. However, the possibility that, for some systems, the dynamical mass has been underestimated cannot be excluded. If this were the case, the dust mass can be accounted for by standard model assumptions. We provide predictions regarding the abundance of the descendants of QSO hosts; albeit rare, such systems should be present and detectable by future deep surveys such as Euclid already at z>4.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 12/2013; 438(4). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stt2329 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    S. Recchi · F. Calura · B. K. Gibson · P. Kroupa
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this paper is to quantify the amplitude of the predicted plateau in [alpha/Fe] ratios associated with the most metal-poor stars of a galaxy. We assume that the initial mass function in galaxies is steeper if the star formation rate (SFR) is low -- as per the integrated galactic initial mass function (IGIMF) theory. A variant of the theory, in which the IGIMF depends upon the metallicity of the parent galaxy, is also considered. The IGIMF theory predicts low [alpha/Fe] plateaus in dwarf galaxies, characterised by small SFRs. The [alpha/Fe] plateau is up to 0.7dex lower than the corresponding plateau of the Milky Way. For a universal IMF one should expect instead that the [alpha/Fe] plateau is the same for all the galaxies, irrespective of their masses or SFRs. Assuming a strong dependence of the IMF on the metallicity of the parent galaxy, dwarf galaxies can show values of the [alpha/Fe] plateau similar to those of the Milky Way, and almost independent on the SFR. The [Mg/Fe] ratios of the most metal-poor stars in dwarf galaxies satellites of the Milky Way can be reproduced either if we consider metallicity-dependent IMFs or if the early SFRs of these galaxies were larger than we presently think. Present and future observations of dwarf galaxies can help disentangle between these different IGIMF formulations.
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    A. Pipino · F. Calura · F. Matteucci
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    ABSTRACT: This paper aims at explaining the two phases in the observed specific star formation rate (sSFR), namely the high (>3/Gyr) values at z > 2 and the smooth decrease since z = 2. In order to do this, we compare to observations the sSFR evolution predicted by well-calibrated models of chemical evolution for elliptical and spiral galaxies, using the additional constraints on the mean stellar ages of these galaxies (at a given mass). We can conclude that the two phases of the sSFR evolution across cosmic time are due to different populations of galaxies. At z > 2, the contribution comes from spheroids: the progenitors of present-day massive ellipticals (which feature the highest sSFR) as well as haloes and bulges in spirals (which contribute with average and lower-than-average sSFR). In each single galaxy, the sSFR decreases rapidly and the star formation stops in <1 Gyr. However, the combination of different generations of ellipticals in formation might result in an apparent lack of strong evolution of the sSFR (averaged over a population) at high redshift. The z < 2 decrease is due to the slow evolution of the gas fraction in discs, modulated by the gas accretion history and regulated by the Schmidt law. The Milky Way makes no exception to this behaviour.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2013; 432(3):2541-2548. DOI:10.1093/mnras/stt613 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The CIV doublet has proven to be an important tracer of the IGM and its evolution from z = 6 to 0. We vastly improved the 1.5 < z < 4.5 CIV statistics by surveying the thousands of SDSS DR7 quasar spectra, resulting in a catalog with more than 15,000 systems (Cooksey et al. 2012). We showed that the number density of CIV absorbers more than doubled in the almost three-billion years probed by the SDSS survey. Statistically, all of these strong CIV systems are consistent with UV-selected galaxies having CIV-absorbing halos, extending out to 100 physical kpc. We also measured an exponential distribution of CIV strengths. Previous smaller, more sensitive surveys found the distribution to be fit best by a power law. Now we combine the SDSS systems with one of these more sensitive surveys (D'Odorico et al. 2010) in order to model the full distribution of CIV absorbers.
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    ABSTRACT: By means of high-resolution cosmological hydrodynamical simulations of Milky Way (MW) like disc galaxies, we conduct an analysis of the associated stellar metallicity distribution functions (MDFs). After undertaking a kinematic decomposition of each simulation into spheroid and disc subcomponents, we compare the predicted MDFs to those observed in the solar neighbourhood and the Galactic bulge. The effects of the star formation density threshold are visible in the star formation histories, which show a modulation in their behaviour driven by the threshold. The derived MDFs show median metallicities lower by 0.2-0.3 dex than the MDF observed locally in the disc and in the Galactic bulge. Possible reasons for this apparent discrepancy include the use of low stellar yields and/or centrally concentrated star formation. The dispersions are larger than the one of the observed MDF; this could be due to simulated discs being kinematically hotter relative to the MW. The fraction of low-metallicity stars is largely overestimated, visible from the more negatively skewed MDF with respect to the observational sample. For our fiducial MW analogue, we study the metallicity distribution of the stars born in situ relative to those formed via accretion (from disrupted satellites), and demonstrate that this low-metallicity tail to the MDF is populated primarily by accreted stars. Enhanced supernova and stellar radiation energy feedback to the surrounding interstellar media of these pre-disrupted satellites is suggested as an important regulator of the MDF skewness.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 12/2012; 427(2):1401-1417. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.22052.x · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In galaxies, the star formation rates are known to depend on the the cold (T < 200 K) gas masses via the well-known empirical Kennicutt (1998, hereafter K98) relation. According to this relation, the star formation rate surface density
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    ABSTRACT: Long-duration Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) are linked to the collapse of massive stars and their hosts are exclusively identified as active, star forming galaxies. Four long GRBs observed at high spectral resolution at redshift 1.5 ≤ z ≤ 4 allowed the determination of the elemental abundances for a set of different chemical elements. In this paper, for the first time, by means of detailed chemical evolution models taking into account also dust production, we attempt to constrain the star formation history of the host galaxies of these GRBs from the study of the measured chemical abundances measured in their ISM. We are also able to provide constraints on the age and on the dust content of GRB hosts. Our results support the hypothesis that long duration GRBs occur preferentially in low metallicity, star forming galaxies. We compare the specific star formation rate, namely the star formation rate per unit stellar mass, predicted for the hosts of these GRBs with observational values for GRB hosts distributed across a large redshift range. Our models predict a decrease of the specific star formation rate (SSFR) with redshift, consistent with the observed decrease of the comoving cosmic SFR density between z ∼ 2 and z = 0. On the other hand, observed GRB hosts seems to follow an opposite trend in the SSFR vs redshift plot, with an increase of the SSFR with decreasing redshift. Future SSFR determination in
  • Francesco Calura · Antonio Pipino · Francesca Matteucci
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    ABSTRACT: dust evolution in galaxies of different

Publication Stats

1k Citations
296.68 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2007–2014
    • The Astronomical Observatory of Brera
      Merate, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2010–2012
    • University of Central Lancashire
      Preston, England, United Kingdom
  • 2006–2009
    • National Institute of Astrophysics
      • Institute of Space Astrophysics and Cosmic Physics IASF - Rome
      Roma, Latium, Italy
    • Universita degli studi di Ferrara
      • Department of Physics and Earth Sciences
      Ferrare, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 2002–2009
    • Università degli Studi di Trieste
      • Department of Physics
      Trst, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy