L. Limatola

The Astronomical Observatory of Brera, Merate, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (19)22.42 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Optical variability has proven to be an effective way of detecting AGNs in imaging surveys, lasting from weeks to years. In the present work we test its use as a tool to identify AGNs in the VST multi-epoch survey of the COSMOS field, originally tailored to detect supernova events. We make use of the multi-wavelength data provided by other COSMOS surveys to discuss the reliability of the method and the nature of our AGN candidates. Our selection returns a sample of 83 AGN candidates; based on a number of diagnostics, we conclude that 67 of them are confirmed AGNs (81% purity), 12 are classified as supernovae, while the nature of the remaining 4 is unknown. For the subsample of AGNs with some spectroscopic classification, we find that Type 1 are prevalent (89%) compared to Type 2 AGNs (11%). Overall, our approach is able to retrieve on average 15% of all AGNs in the field identified by means of spectroscopic or X-ray classification, with a strong dependence on the source apparent magnitude. In particular, the completeness for Type 1 AGNs is 25%, while it drops to 6% for Type 2 AGNs. The rest of the X-ray selected AGN population presents on average a larger r.m.s. variability than the bulk of non variable sources, indicating that variability detection for at least some of these objects is prevented only by the photometric accuracy of the data. We show how a longer observing baseline would return a larger sample of AGN candidates. Our results allow us to assess the usefulness of this AGN selection technique in view of future wide-field surveys.
    12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present a study of globular clusters (GCs) and other small stellar systems (SSSs) in the field of NGC3115, observed as part of the VEGAS imaging survey, carried out with the VST telescope. We use deep g and i data of NGC3115, a well-studied lenticular galaxy with excellent scientific literature. This is fundamental to test the methodologies, verify the results, and probe the capabilities of the VEGAS-SSS. Leveraging the large field of view of the VST allow us to accurately study of the distribution and properties of SSSs as a function of galactocentric distance Rgc, well beyond ~20 galaxy effective radii, in a way not often possible. Our analysis of colors, magnitudes and sizes of SSS candidates confirms the results from existing studies, some of which carried out with 8-10m class telescopes, and further extends them to unreached Rgc distances, with similar accuracy. We find a color bimodality for the GC population and a r1/4 profile for the surface density of GCs as for the galaxy light profile. The radial color gradient of blue and red GCs previously found, for instance by the SLUGGS survey, is further extended out to the largest Rgc inspected, ~65 kpc. The surface density profiles of blue and red GCs taken separately are well approximated by a r1/4 density profile, with the fraction of blue GCs being slightly larger at larger Rgc. We do not find hints of a trend for the red GC and for the GC turnover magnitude to vary with radius, but we observe a ~0.2 mag difference in the turnover magnitude of the blue and red GCs subpopulations. Inspecting SSS sizes and colors we obtained a list of UCDs and GC candidates suitable for future spectroscopic follow-up. In conclusion, our study shows the reliability of the methodologies developed to study SSSs in the field of bright early-type galaxies, and the great potential of the VEGAS survey to produce original results on SSSs science.
    12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the first deep photometry of a good candidate for a forming polar ring galaxy at redshift z~0.05. This object, named FCSS J033710.0-354727, is a background galaxy in the VST deep field of the Fornax cluster. The deep exposures combined with the high angular resolution of the OmegaCAM at VST allow us to carry out the first detailed photometric analysis for this system in the g and i bands to derive the galaxy structure and colors. Results show that the central object resembles a disk galaxy, surrounded by a ring-like structure 2 times more extended than the central disk. The warped geometry and the presence of bright knots observed along the polar direction, as well as the several debris detected on the NW side with colors comparable to those of the galaxy, suggest that the polar structure is still forming. We argue that the wide polar ring/disk is the result of the ongoing disruption of a companion galaxy in the potential of the central object, which is 2-3 times more massive than the accreting galaxy.
    11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present an overview of a multi-wavelength survey of the Shapley supercluster (SSC; z=0.05) covering a contiguous area of 260 h^{-2}_{70} Mpc^2 including the supercluster core. The main aim of the survey is to quantify the influence of cluster-scale mass assembly on galaxy evolution in one of the most massive structures in the local Universe. The Shapley supercluster survey (ShaSS) includes nine Abell clusters (A3552, A3554, A3556, A3558, A3559, A3560, A3562, AS0724, AS0726) and two poor clusters (SC1327- 312, SC1329-313) showing evidence of cluster-cluster interactions. Optical (ugri) and near-infrared (K) imaging acquired with the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) and the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) allow us to study the galaxy population down to m*+6 at the supercluster redshift. A dedicated spectroscopic survey with AAOmega on the Anglo-Australian Telescope provides a magnitude-limited sample of redshifts of supercluster members with 80% completeness at m*+2.5. We discuss the scientific aspects of the survey and describe its main characteristics. We derive the galaxy density across the whole area of the survey, demonstrating that all (sub-)structures within this area are embedded in a single network of clusters, groups and filaments. The stellar mass density in the core of the SSC is always higher than 9E09 M_sun Mpc^-3, which is about 40 times the cosmic stellar mass density for galaxies in the local Universe. We find a new filamentary structure (7 Mpc long in projection) connecting the SSC core to the cluster A3559, as well as previously unidentified density peaks. We perform a weak-lensing analysis of the central 1 sqdeg field of the survey to test the feasibility of mapping the dark matter distribution in the SSC with our data. We obtain for the central cluster A3558 a mass of M_500~7.63E14 M_sun, in agreement with X-ray based estimates.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: STREGA (STRucture and Evolution of the GAlaxy) is a Guaranteed Time survey being performed at the VST (the ESO VLT Survey Telescope) to map about 150 square degrees in the Galactic halo, in order to constrain the mechanisms of galactic formation and evolution. The survey is built as a five-year project, organized in two parts: a core program to explore the surrounding regions of selected stellar systems and a second complementary part to map the southern portion of the Fornax orbit and extend the observations of the core program. The adopted stellar tracers are mainly variable stars (RR~Lyraes and Long Period Variables) and Main Sequence Turn-off stars for which observations in the g,r,i bands are obtained. We present an overview of the survey and some preliminary results for three observing runs that have been completed. For the region centered on $\omega$~Cen (37 deg^2), covering about three tidal radii, we also discuss the detected stellar density radial profile and angular distribution, leading to the identification of extratidal cluster stars. We also conclude that the cluster tidal radius is about 1.2 deg, in agreement with values in the literature based on the Wilson model.
    06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: STEP (the SMC in Time: Evolution of a Prototype interacting late-type dwarf galaxy) is a Guaranteed Time Observation survey being performed at the VST (the ESO VLT Survey Telescope). STEP will image an area of 74 deg$^2$ covering the main body of the Small Magellanic Cloud (32 deg$^2$), the Bridge that connects it to the Large Magellanic Cloud (30 deg$^2$) and a small part of the Magellanic Stream (2 deg$^2$). Our $g,r,i,H_{\alpha}$ photometry is able to resolve individual stars down to magnitudes well below the main-sequence turnoff of the oldest populations. In this first paper we describe the observing strategy, the photometric techniques, and the upcoming data products of the survey. We also present preliminary results for the first two fields for which data acquisition is completed, including some detailed analysis of the two stellar clusters IC\,1624 and NGC\,419.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 05/2014; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CBET 3728 available at Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams.
    Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams. 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The SUpernova Diversity And Rate Evolution (SUDARE) programme on the VLT Survey Telescope aims to collect an unbiased and homogeneous sample of supernovae (SNe) in all types of galaxies out to redshift ~ 0.6. In four years, around 500 Type Ia and core-collapse SNe are expected to be discovered, including significant numbers of rare SN types. The programme is outlined and 100 SNe candidates have already been detected in the first year of the programme. Follow-up spectroscopy of the SN candidates, an important aspect of the programme, is also described.
    The Messenger. 03/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The distance of NGC1316, the brightest galaxy in Fornax, is an interesting test for the cosmological distance scale. First, because Fornax is the 2nd largest cluster of galaxies at <~25 Mpc after Virgo and, in contrast to Virgo, has a small line-of-sight depth; and second, because NGC1316 is the galaxy with the largest number of detected SNeIa, giving the opportunity to test the consistency of SNeIa distances internally and against other indicators. We measure SBF mags in NGC1316 from ground and space-based imaging data, providing a homogeneous set of measurements over a wide wavelength interval. The SBF, coupled with empirical and theoretical calibrations, are used to estimate the distance to the galaxy. We present the first B-band SBF measurements of NGC1316 and use them together with the optical and near-IR SBF data to analyze the properties of field stars. Our distance modulus m-M=31.59 +-0.05(stat) +-0.14(sys), when placed in a consistent Cepheid distance scale, agrees with the results from other indicators. However, our result is ~17% larger than the most recent estimate based on SNeIa. Possible explanations for this disagreement are the uncertainties on internal extinction, or calibration issues. Concerning the stellar population analysis, we confirm earlier results from other indicators: the field stars in NGC1316 are dominated by a solar metallicity, intermediate age component. A substantial mismatch exists between B-band SBF models and data, a behavior that can be accounted for by an enhanced percentage of hot horizontal branch stars. Our study of the SBF distance to NGC1316, and the comparison with distances from other indicators, raises some concern about the homogeneity between the calibrations of different indicators. If not properly placed in the same reference scale, significant differences can occur, with dramatic impact on the cosmological distance ladder.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 02/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This work is based on data of NGC1316 from the Very Large Telescope (VLT). We used B, V and I-band observations obtained with the FORS1 Imager at ESO's VLT in Paranal (Program 64.H-0624(A), P.I. M. Della Valle). The data reduction was carried out with the VST-Tube imaging pipeline. VST-Tube is a very versatile software for astronomical data analysis, tested against imaging data taken with different telescopes/detectors, adaptable to existing or future multi-CCD cameras (2 data files).
    VizieR Online Data Catalog. 02/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: CBET 3311 available at Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams.
    Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams. 11/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: CBET 3274 available at Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams.
    Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams. 10/2012;
  • 10/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: CBET 3236 available at Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams.
    Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams. 09/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the first time-series study of the ultra-faint dwarf galaxy Hercules. Using a variety of telescope/instrument facilities we secured about 50 V and 80 B epochs. These data allowed us to detect and characterize 10 pulsating variable stars in Hercules. Our final sample includes 6 fundamental-mode (ab-type) and 3 first overtone (c-type) RR Lyrae stars, and one Anomalous Cepheid. The average period of the ab-type RR Lyrae stars, < Pab >= 0.68 d (sigma = 0.03 d), places Hercules in the Oosterhoff II group, as found for almost the totality of the ultra-faint dwarf galaxies investigated so far for variability. The RR Lyrae stars were used to obtain independent estimates of the metallicity, reddening and distance to Hercules, for which we find: [Fe/H] = -2.30+-0.15 dex, E(B -V) = 0.09+-0.02 mag, and (m-M)o = 20.6+-0.1 mag, in good agreement with the literature values. We have obtained a V, B - V color-magnitude diagram (CMD) of Hercules that reaches V ~ 25 mag and extends beyond the galaxy's half-light radius over a total area of 40' {\times} 36'. The CMD and the RR Lyrae stars indicate the presence of a population as old and metal-poor as (at least) the Galactic globular clusters M68.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2012; 756(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper we use deep CFHT and SUBARU $uBVRIz$ archival images of the Abell 383 cluster (z=0.187) to estimate its mass by weak lensing. To this end, we first use simulated images to check the accuracy provided by our KSB pipeline. Such simulations include both the STEP 1 and 2 simulations, and more realistic simulations of the distortion of galaxy shapes by a cluster with a Navarro-Frenk-White (NFW) profile. From such simulations we estimate the effect of noise on shear measurement and derive the correction terms. The R-band image is used to derive the mass by fitting the observed tangential shear profile with a NFW mass profile. Photometric redshifts are computed from the uBVRIz catalogs. Different methods for the foreground/background galaxy selection are implemented, namely selection by magnitude, color and photometric redshifts, and results are compared. In particular, we developed a semi-automatic algorithm to select the foreground galaxies in the color-color diagram, based on observed colors. Using color selection or photometric redshifts improves the correction of dilution from foreground galaxies: this leads to higher signals in the inner parts of the cluster. We obtain a cluster mass that is ~ 20% higher than previous estimates, and is more consistent the mass expected from X--ray data. The R-band luminosity function of the cluster is finally computed.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 02/2011; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: VST--Tube is a new software package designed to process optical astronomical images. It is an automated pipeline to go from the raw exposures to fully calibrated co-added images, and to extract catalogs with aperture and PSF photometry. A set of tools allow the data administration and the quality check of the intermediate and final products. VST-Tube comes with a Graphical User Interface to facilitate the interaction between data and user. We outline here the VST--Tube architecture and show some applications enlightening some of the characteristics of the pipeline.
    02/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: We derive the mass-metallicity relation of star-forming galaxies up to $z\sim0.9$, using data from the VIMOS VLT Deep Survey. Automatic measurement of emission-line fluxes and equivalent widths have been performed on the full spectroscopic sample. This sample is divided into two sub-samples depending on the apparent magnitude selection: wide ($I_{\mathrm{AB}}<22.5$) and deep $I_{\mathrm{AB}}<24$). These two samples span two different ranges of stellar masses. Emission-line galaxies have been separated into star-forming galaxies and active galactic nuclei using emission line ratios. For the star-forming galaxies the emission line ratios have also been used to estimate gas-phase oxygen abundance, using empirical calibrations renormalized in order to give consistent results at low and high redshifts. The stellar masses have been estimated by fitting the whole spectral energy distributions with a set of stellar population synthesis models. We assume at first order that the shape of the mass-metallicity relation remains constant with redshift. Then we find a stronger metallicity evolution in the wide sample as compared to the deep sample. We thus conclude that the mass-metallicity relation is flatter at higher redshift. The observed flattening of the mass-metallicity relation at high redshift is analyzed as an evidence in favor of the open-closed model.
    12/2008;
  • A. Grado, M. Pavlov, L. Limatola
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    ABSTRACT: The era of petabyte data-flow regime and precision astronomy calls for an overall efficiency of the software used to process the data and for a careful control on the errors introduced by the processing. We present a new FITS library baptized Efficient fits (Efits) developed to satisfy basically two requirements: one related to efficiency and flexibility, and another related to accuracy. To achieve the first goal, the library contains special mechanisms/layers, which support different I/O methods (disk and shared memory, currently), and consent to easily extend the set of supported methods in the future. The usage of the shared memory allows to efficiently exchange data among independent processes in a modular pipeline. Moreover the library can work on single extension of FITS file extracted directly from Multiple Extensions FITS (MEF) files without previously splitting them. For the second goal a true noise map, mandatory in some science application, is created implementing a noise map propagation mechanism which creates (or modifies) a noise map each time a mathematical operation is performed on an image. Structure and mechanisms adopted are presented.
    05/2008: pages 217-220;