J. M. Alcalá

The Astronomical Observatory of Brera, Merate, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (206)420.61 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This booklet contains a collection of contributions to the meeting of the JEts and Disks at INAF (JEDI) group, which took place at the Capodimonte Observatory during 9-10 April 2015. Scope of the meeting was to bring together the JEDI researchers of the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) working in the field of circumstellar disks and jets in young stars, to discuss together the different agents affecting the structure and the evolution of disks, namely accretion, jets and winds. More information on the JEDI group and its activities can be found at \texttt{http://www.oa-roma.inaf.it/irgroup/JEDI}.
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    ABSTRACT: The Orion cloud complex presents a variety of star formation mechanisms and properties and it is still one of the most intriguing targets for star formation studies. We present VISTA/VIRCAM near-infrared observations of the L1630N star forming region, including the stellar clusters NGC 2068 and NGC 2071, in the Orion molecular cloud B and discuss them in combination with Spitzer data. We select 186 young stellar object (YSO) candidates in the region on the basis of multi-colour criteria, confirm the YSO nature of the majority of them using published spectroscopy from the literature, and use this sample to investigate the overall star formation properties in L1630N. The K-band luminosity function of L1630N is remarkably similar to that of the Trapezium cluster, i.e., it presents a broad peak in the range 0.3-0.7 M$_\odot$ and a fraction of sub-stellar objects of $\sim$20%. The fraction of YSOs still surrounded by disk/envelopes is very high ($\sim$85%) compared to other star forming regions of similar age (1-2 Myr), but includes some uncertain corrections for diskless YSOs. Yet, a possibly high disk fraction together with the fact that 1/3 of the cloud mass has a gas surface density above the threshold for star formation ($\sim$129 M$_\odot$ pc$^{-2}$), points towards a still on-going star formation activity in L1630N. The star formation efficiency (SFE), star formation rate (SFR) and density of star formation of L1630N are within the ranges estimated for galactic star forming regions by the Spitzer "core to disk" and "Gould's Belt" surveys. However, the SFE and SFR are lower than the average value measured in the Orion A cloud and, in particular, lower than that in the southern regions of L1630. This might suggest different star formation mechanisms within the L1630 cloud complex.
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    C. F. Manara, L. Testi, A. Natta, J. M. Alcalá
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    ABSTRACT: We present new VLT/X-Shooter optical and NIR spectra of a sample of 17 candidate young low-mass stars and BDs in the rho-Ophiucus cluster. We derived SpT and Av for all the targets, and then we determined their physical parameters. All the objects but one have M*<0.6 Msun, and 8 have mass below or close to the hydrogen-burning limit. Using the intensity of various emission lines present in their spectra, we determined the Lacc and Macc for all the objects. When compared with previous works targeting the same sample, we find that, in general, these objects are not as strongly accreting as previously reported, and we suggest that the reason is our more accurate estimate of the photospheric parameters. We also compare our findings with recent works in other slightly older star-forming regions to investigate possible differences in the accretion properties, but we find that the accretion properties for our targets have the same dependence on the stellar and substellar parameters as in the other regions. This leads us to conclude that we do not find evidence for a different dependence of Macc with M* when comparing low-mass stars and BDs. Moreover, we find a similar small (1 dex) scatter in the Macc-M* relation as in some of our recent works in other star-forming regions, and no significant differences in Macc due to different ages or properties of the regions. The latter result suffers, however, from low statistics and sample selection biases in the current studies. The small scatter in the Macc-M* correlation confirms that Macc in the literature based on uncertain photospheric parameters and single accretion indicators, such as the Ha width, can lead to a scatter that is unphysically large. Our studies show that only broadband spectroscopic surveys coupled with a detailed analysis of the photospheric and accretion properties allows us to properly study the evolution of disk accretion rates.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 05/2015; DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201526169 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Planet formation is one explanation for the partial clearing of dust observed in the disks of some T Tauri stars. Indeed studies using state-of-the-art high angular resolution techniques have very recently begun to observe planetary companions in these so-called transitional disks. The goal of this work is to use spectra of the transitional disk object LkCa 15 obtained with X-Shooter on the Very Large Telescope to investigate the possibility of using spectro-astrometry to detect planetary companions to T Tauri stars. It is argued that an accreting planet should contribute to the total emission of accretion tracers such as H$\alpha$ and therefore planetary companions could be detected with spectro-astrometry in the same way as it has been used to detect stellar companions to young stars. A probable planetary-mass companion was recently detected in the disk of LkCa 15. Therefore, it is an ideal target for this pilot study. We studied several key accretion lines in the wavelength range 300 nm to 2.2 $\mu$m with spectro-astrometry. While no spectro-astrometric signal is measured for any emission lines the accuracy achieved in the technique is used to place an upper limit on the contribution of the planet to the flux of the H$\alpha$, Pa$\gamma$, and Pa$\beta$ lines. The derived upper limits on the flux allows an upper limit of the mass accretion rate, log($\dot{M}_{acc}$) = -8.9 to -9.3 for the mass of the companion between 6 M$_{Jup}$ and 15 M$_{Jup}$, respectively, to be estimated (with some assumptions).
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 04/2015; DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201425578 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The discovery of almost 2000 exoplanets has revealed an unexpectedly diverse planet population. Observations to date have shown that our Solar System is certainly not representative of the general population of planets in our Milky Way. The key science questions that urgently need addressing are therefore: What are exoplanets made of? Why are planets as they are? What causes the exceptional diversity observed as compared to the Solar System? EChO (Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory) has been designed as a dedicated survey mission for transit and eclipse spectroscopy capable of observing a large and diverse planet sample within its four-year mission lifetime. EChO can target the atmospheres of super-Earths, Neptune-like, and Jupiter-like planets, in the very hot to temperate zones (planet temperatures of 300K-3000K) of F to M-type host stars. Over the next ten years, several new ground- and space-based transit surveys will come on-line (e.g. NGTS, CHEOPS, TESS, PLATO), which will specifically focus on finding bright, nearby systems. The current rapid rate of discovery would allow the target list to be further optimised in the years prior to EChO's launch and enable the atmospheric characterisation of hundreds of planets. Placing the satellite at L2 provides a cold and stable thermal environment, as well as a large field of regard to allow efficient time-critical observation of targets randomly distributed over the sky. A 1m class telescope is sufficiently large to achieve the necessary spectro-photometric precision. The spectral coverage (0.5-11 micron, goal 16 micron) and SNR to be achieved by EChO, thanks to its high stability and dedicated design, would enable a very accurate measurement of the atmospheric composition and structure of hundreds of exoplanets.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper describes the analysis of UVES and GIRAFFE spectra acquired by the Gaia-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey in the fields of young clusters whose population includes pre-main sequence (PMS) stars. Both methods that have been extensively used in the past and new ones developed in the contest of the Gaia-ESO survey enterprise are available and used. The internal precision of these quantities is estimated by inter-comparing the results obtained by such different methods, while the accuracy is estimated by comparison with independent external data, like effective temperature and surface gravity derived from angular diameter measurements, on a sample of benchmarks stars. Specific strategies are implemented to deal with fast rotation, accretion signatures, chromospheric activity, and veiling. The analysis carried out on spectra acquired in young clusters' fields during the first 18 months of observations, up to June 2013, is presented in preparation of the first release of advanced data products. Stellar parameters obtained with the higher resolution and larger wavelength coverage from UVES are reproduced with comparable accuracy and precision using the smaller wavelength range and lower resolution of the GIRAFFE setup adopted for young stars, which allows us to provide with confidence stellar parameters for the much larger GIRAFFE sample. Precisions are estimated to be $\approx$ 120 K r.m.s. in Teff, $\approx$0.3 dex r.m.s. in logg, and $\approx$0.15 dex r.m.s. in [Fe/H], for both the UVES and GIRAFFE setups.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 01/2015; in press. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201424759 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We use the fundamental parameters delivered by the GES consortium in the first internal data release to select the members of $\gamma$ Vel and Cha I among the UVES and GIRAFFE spectroscopic observations. A total of 140 $\gamma$ Vel members and 74 Cha I members were studied. We calculated stellar luminosities through spectral energy distributions, while stellar masses were derived by comparison with evolutionary tracks. The spectral subtraction of low-activity and slowly rotating templates, which are rotationally broadened to match the $v\sin i$ of the targets, enabled us to measure the equivalent widths (EWs) and the fluxes in the H$\alpha$ and H$\beta$ lines. The H$\alpha$ line was also used for identifying accreting objects and for evaluating the mass accretion rate ($\dot M_{\rm acc}$). The distribution of $v\sin i$ for the members of $\gamma$ Vel displays a peak at about 10 km s$^{-1}$ with a tail toward faster rotators. There is also some indication of a different $v\sin i$ distribution for the members of its two kinematical populations. Only a handful of stars in $\gamma$ Vel display signatures of accretion, while many more accretors were detected in the younger Cha~I. Accreting and active stars occupy two different regions in a $T_{\rm eff}$-flux diagram and we propose a criterion for distinguishing them. We derive $\dot M_{\rm acc}$ in the ranges $10^{-11}$-$10^{-9} M_\odot$yr$^{-1}$ and $10^{-10}$-$10^{-7} M_\odot$yr$^{-1}$ for $\gamma$ Vel and Cha I accretors, respectively. We find less scatter in the $\dot M_{\rm acc}-M_\star$ relation derived through the H$\alpha$ EWs, when compared to the H$\alpha$ $10\%W$ diagnostics, in agreement with other authors.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 12/2014; in press. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201424409 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Einstein spontaneous rates (A-coefficients) of Fe^+ lines have been computed by several authors, with results that differ from each other up to 40%. Consequently, models for line emissivities suffer from uncertainties which in turn affect the determination of the physical conditions at the base of line excitation. We provide an empirical determination of the A-coefficient ratios of bright [Fe II] lines, which would represent both a valid benchmark for theoretical computations and a reference for the physical interpretation of the observed lines. With the ESO-VLT X-shooter instrument between 3,000 A, and 24,700 A, we obtained a spectrum of the bright Herbig-Haro object HH1. We detect around 100 [Fe II] lines, some of which with a signal-to-noise ratio > 100. Among these latter, we selected those emitted by the same level, whose de-reddened intensity ratio is a direct function of the Einstein A-coefficient ratios. From the same X-shooter spectrum, we got an accurate estimate of the extinction toward HH1 through intensity ratios of atomic species, HI, recombination lines and H_2 ro-vibrational transitions. We provide seven reliable A-ooefficient ratios between bright [Fe II] lines, which are compared with the literature determinations. In particular, the A-coefficient ratios involving the brightest near-infrared lines (12570A/16440A and 13209A/16440A) are better in agreement with the predictions by Quinet et al. (1996) Relativistic Hartree-Fock model. However, none of the theoretical models predicts A-coefficient ratios in agreement with all our determinations. We also show that literature data of near-infrared intensity ratios better agree with our determinations than with theoretical expectations.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2014; 798(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/798/1/33 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of FLAMES/UVES and FLAMES/GIRAFFE spectroscopic observations of 23 low-mass stars in the L1615/L1616 cometary cloud, complemented with FORS2 and VIMOS spectroscopy of 31 additional stars in the same cloud. L1615/L1616 is a cometary cloud where the star formation was triggered by the impact of the massive stars in the Orion OB association. From the measurements of the lithium abundance and radial velocity, we confirm the membership of our sample to the cloud. We use the equivalent widths of the H$\alpha$, H$\beta$, and the HeI $\lambda$5876, $\lambda$6678, $\lambda$7065 \AA$ $emission lines to calculate the accretion luminosities, $L_{\rm acc}$, and the mass accretion rates, $\dot M_{\rm acc}$. We find in L1615/L1616 a fraction of accreting objects ($\sim 30\%$), which is consistent with the typical fraction of accretors in T associations of similar age ($\sim 3$ Myr). The mass accretion rate for these stars shows a trend with the mass of the central object similar to that found for other star-forming regions, with a spread at a given mass which depends on the evolutionary model used to derive the stellar mass. Moreover, the behavior of the $2MASS/WISE$ colors with $\dot M_{\rm acc}$ indicates that strong accretors with $\log \dot M_{\rm acc} \gt -8.5$ dex show large excesses in the $JHK{\rm s}$ bands, as in previous studies. We also conclude that the accretion properties of the L1615/L1616 members are similar to those of young stellar objects in T associations, like Lupus.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 09/2014; 572. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201424249 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Disks around T Tauri stars are known to lose mass, as best shown by the profiles of the forbidden emission lines of low-ionization species. At least two separate kinematic components have been identified, one characterized by velocity shifts of tens to hundreds of km s(-1) (HVC) and one with a much lower velocity of a few km s(-1) (LVC). The HVC are convincingly associated to the emission of jets, but the origin of the LVC is still unknown. In this paper we analyze the forbidden line spectrum of a sample of 44 mostly low-mass young stars in Lupus and sigma Ori observed with the X-shooter ESO spectrometer. We detect forbidden line emission of O I, O II, S II, N I, and N II, and characterize the line profiles as LVC, blueshifted HVC, and redshifted HVC. We focus our study on the LVC. We show that there is a good correlation between line luminosity and both L-star and the accretion luminosity (or the mass accretion rate) over a large interval of values (L-star similar to 10(-2)-1 L-circle dot; L-acc similar to 10(-5)-10(-1) L-circle dot;(M) over dot(acc) similar to 10(-11)-10(-7) M-circle dot/yr). The lines show the presence of a slow wind (V-peak < 20 km s(-1)) that is dense (n(H) > 10(8) cm(-3)), warm (T similar to 5000-10 000 K), mostly neutral. We estimate the mass of the emitting gas and provide a value for the maximum volume it occupies. Both quantities increase steeply with the stellar mass, from similar to 10(-12) M-circle dot and similar to 0.01 AU(3) for M-star similar to 0.1 M-circle dot, to similar to 3 x 10(-10) M-circle dot and similar to 1 AU(3) for M-star similar to 1 M-circle dot, respectively. These results provide quite stringent constraints to wind models in low-mass young stars, that need to be explored further.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 09/2014; 569:A5. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201424136 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As the number of observed brown dwarf outflows is growing it is important to investigate how these outflows compare to the well studied jets from young stellar objects. A key point of comparison is the relationship between outflow and accretion activity and in particular the ratio between the mass outflow and accretion rates ($\dot{M}_{out}$/$\dot{M}_{acc}$). The brown dwarf candidate ISO-ChaI 217 was discovered by our group, as part of a spectro-astrometric study of brown dwarfs, to be driving an asymmetric outflow with the blue-shifted lobe having a position angle of $\sim$ 20$^{\circ}$. The aim here is to further investigate the properties of ISO-ChaI 217, the morphology and kinematics of its outflow, and to better constrain ($\dot{M}_{out}$/$\dot{M}_{acc}$). The outflow is spatially resolved in the $[SII]\lambda \lambda 6716,6731$ lines and is detected out to $\sim$ 1\farcs6 in the blue-shifted lobe and ~ 1" in the red-shifted lobe. The asymmetry between the two lobes is confirmed although the velocity asymmetry is less pronounced with respect to our previous study. Using thirteen different accretion tracers we measure log($\dot{M}_{acc}$) [M$_{sun}$/yr]= -10.6 $\pm$ 0.4. As it was not possible to measure the effect of extinction on the ISO-ChaI 217 outflow $\dot{M}_{out}$ was derived for a range of values of A$_{v}$, up to a value of A$_{v}$ = 2.5 mag estimated for the source extinction. The logarithm of the mass outflow ($\dot{M}_{out}$) was estimated in the range -11.7 to -11.1 for both jets combined. Thus $\dot{M}_{out}$/$\dot{M}_{acc}$ [\Msun/yr] lies below the maximum value predicted by magneto-centrifugal jet launching models. Finally, both model fitting of the Balmer decrements and spectro-astrometric analysis of the H$\alpha$ line show that the bulk of the H I emission comes from the accretion flow.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 08/2014; 570. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201424067 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Disks around T Tauri stars are known to lose mass, as best shown by the profiles of forbidden emission lines of low ionization species. At least two separate kinematic components have been identified, one characterised by velocity shifts of tens to hundreds km/s (HVC) and one with much lower velocity of few km/s (LVC). The HVC are convincingly associated to the emission of jets, but the origin of the LVC is still unknown. In this paper we analyze the forbidden line spectrum of a sample of 44 mostly low mass young stars in Lupus and $\sigma$-Ori observed with the X-Shooter ESO spectrometer. We detect forbidden line emission of [OI], [OII], [SII], [NI], and [NII], and characterize the line profiles as LVC, blue-shifted HVC and red-shifted HVC. We focus our study on the LVC. We show that there is a good correlation between line luminosity and both L$_{star}$ and the accretion luminosity (or the mass-accretion rate) over a large interval of values (L$_{star}$ $\sim 10^{-2} - 1$ L$_\odot$; L$_{acc}$ $\sim 10^{-5} - 10^{-1}$ L$_\odot$; $\dot M_{acc}$ $\sim 10^{-11} - 10^{-7}$ M$_\odot$/yr). The lines show the presence of a slow wind ($V_{peak}<20$ km/s), dense ($n_H>10^8$ cm$^{-3}$), warm (T$\sim 5000-10000$ K), mostly neutral. We estimate the mass of the emitting gas and provide a value for the maximum volume it occupies. Both quantities increase steeply with the stellar mass, from $\sim 10^{-12}$ M$_\odot$ and $\sim 0.01$ AU$^3$ for M$_{star}$$\sim 0.1$ M$_\odot$, to $\sim 3 \times 10^{-10}$ M$_\odot$ and $\sim 1$ AU$^3$ for M$_{star}$$\sim 1$ M$_\odot$, respectively. These results provide quite stringent constraints to wind models in low mass young stars, that need to be explored further.
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    ABSTRACT: Young, nearby stars are ideal targets to search for planets using the direct imaging technique. The determination of stellar parameters is crucial for the interpretation of imaging survey results particularly since the luminosity of substellar objects has a strong dependence on system age. We have conducted a large program with NaCo at the VLT in order to search for planets and brown dwarfs in wide orbits around 86 stars. A large fraction of the targets observed with NaCo were poorly investigated in the literature. We performed a study to characterize the fundamental properties (age, distance, mass) of the stars in our sample. To improve target age determinations, we compiled and analyzed a complete set of age diagnostics. We measured spectroscopic parameters and age diagnostics using dedicated observations acquired with FEROS and CORALIE spectrographs at La Silla Observatory. We also made extensive use of archival spectroscopic data and results available in the literature. Additionally, we exploited photometric time-series, available in ASAS and Super-WASP archives, to derive rotation period for a large fraction of our program stars. We provided updated characterization of all the targets observed in the VLT NaCo Large program, a survey designed to probe the occurrence of exoplanets and brown dwarfs in wide orbits. The median distance and age of our program stars are 64 pc and 100 Myr, respectively. Nearly all the stars have masses between 0.70 and 1.50sun, with a median value of 1.01 Msun. The typical metallicity is close to solar, with a dispersion that is smaller than that of samples usually observed in radial velocity surveys. Several stars are confirmed or proposed here to be members of nearby young moving groups. Eight spectroscopic binaries are identified.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 05/2014; 573. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201323168 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper a comprehensive analysis of VLT / X-Shooter observations of two jet systems, namely ESO-H$\alpha$ 574 a K8 classical T Tauri star and Par-Lup 3-4 a very low mass (0.13~\Msun) M5 star, is presented. Both stars are known to have near-edge on accretion disks. A summary of these first X-shooter observations of jets was given in a 2011 letter. The new results outlined here include flux tables of identified emission lines, information on the morphology, kinematics and physical conditions of both jets and, updated estimates of $\dot{M}_{out}$ / $\dot{M}_{acc}$. Asymmetries in the \eso flow are investigated while the \para jet is much more symmetric. The density, temperature, and therefore origin of the gas traced by the Balmer lines are investigated from the Balmer decrements and results suggest an origin in a jet for \eso while for \para the temperature and density are consistent with an accretion flow. $\dot{M}_{acc}$ is estimated from the luminosity of various accretion tracers. For both targets, new luminosity relationships and a re-evaluation of the effect of reddening and grey extinction (due to the edge-on disks) allows for substantial improvements on previous estimates of $\dot{M}_{acc}$. It is found that log($\dot{M}_{acc}$) = -9.15 $\pm$ 0.45~\Msun yr$^{-1}$ and -9.30 $\pm$ 0.27~\Msun yr$^{-1}$ for \eso and \para respectively. Additionally, the physical conditions in the jets (electron density, electron temperature, and ionisation) are probed using various line ratios and compared with previous determinations from iron lines. The results are combined with the luminosity of the [SII]$\lambda$6731 line to derive $\dot{M}_{out}$ through a calculation of the gas emissivity based on a 5-level atom model.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 03/2014; 565. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201322037 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present VLT/X-shooter observations of a sample of 36 accreting low-mass stellar and substellar objects (YSOs) in the Lupus star-forming region, spanning a range in mass from ~0.03 to ~1.2 M⊙, but mostly with 0.1 M⊙<M⋆< 0.5 M⊙. Our aim is twofold: firstly, to analyse the relationship between excess-continuum and line emission accretion diagnostics, and, secondly, to investigate the accretion properties in terms of the physical properties of the central object. The accretion luminosity (Lacc), and in turn the accretion rate (Ṁacc), was derived by modelling the excess emission from the UV to the near-infrared as the continuum emission of a slab of hydrogen. We computed the flux and luminosity (Lline) of many emission lines of H , He , and Ca ii, observed simultaneously in the range from ~330 nm to 2500 nm. The luminosity of all the lines is well correlated with Lacc. We provide empirical relationships between Lacc and the luminosity of 39 emission lines, which have a lower dispersion than relationships previously reported in the literature. Our measurements extend the Paβ and Brγ relationships to Lacc values about two orders of magnitude lower than those reported in previous studies. We confirm that different methodologies of measuring Lacc and Ṁacc yield significantly different results: Hα line profile modelling may underestimate Ṁacc by 0.6 to 0.8 dex with respect to Ṁacc derived from continuum-excess measures. These differences may explain the probably spurious bi-modal relationships between Ṁacc and other YSOs properties reported in the literature. We derived Ṁacc in the range 2 × 10-12-4 × 10-8 M⊙ yr-1 and conclude that Ṁacc ∝ M⋆1.8(±0.2), with a dispersion lower by a factor of about 2 than in previous studies. A number of properties indicate that the physical conditions of the accreting gas are similar over more than 5 orders of magnitude in Ṁacc, confirming previous suggestions that the geometry of the accretion flow controls the rate at which the disc material accretes onto the central star. Based on observations collected at the European Souther Observatory at Paranal, under programs 084.C-0269(A), 085.C-0238(A), 086.C-0173(A), 087.C-0244(A) and 089.C-0143(A).Tables 1-4 and Appendices are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 01/2014; 561:2-. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201322254 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The knowledge of the photospheric parameters and the level of chromospheric activity in young pre-main sequence stars is one of the main limitations when trying to measure mass accretion rates in Class II YSOs. A detailed characterization of photospheres and chromospheric activities in low-mass, young stars without disks (late K and M type Class III YSOs) is still missing. Using VLT/X-Shooter spectra we have analyzed a sample of Class III in the Spectral Type range between K5 and M9.5. We report on the characterization of the chromospheric emission in the stars in our sample and on the implications that our work has on accurate measurements of mass accretion rates in YSOs.
    11/2013; DOI:10.1007/978-3-319-03041-8_8
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    ABSTRACT: Building on the experience of the high-resolution community with the suite of VLT high-resolution spectrographs, which has been tremendously successful, we outline here the (science) case for a high-fidelity, high-resolution spectrograph with wide wavelength coverage at the E-ELT. Flagship science drivers include: the study of exo-planetary atmospheres with the prospect of the detection of signatures of life on rocky planets; the chemical composition of planetary debris on the surface of white dwarfs; the spectroscopic study of protoplanetary and proto-stellar disks; the extension of Galactic archaeology to the Local Group and beyond; spectroscopic studies of the evolution of galaxies with samples that, unlike now, are no longer restricted to strongly star forming and/or very massive galaxies; the unraveling of the complex roles of stellar and AGN feedback; the study of the chemical signatures imprinted by population III stars on the IGM during the epoch of reionization; the exciting possibility of paradigm-changing contributions to fundamental physics. The requirements of these science cases can be met by a stable instrument with a spectral resolution of R~100,000 and broad, simultaneous spectral coverage extending from 370nm to 2500nm. Most science cases do not require spatially resolved information, and can be pursued in seeing-limited mode, although some of them would benefit by the E-ELT diffraction limited resolution. Some multiplexing would also be beneficial for some of the science cases. (Abridged)
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    ABSTRACT: We present X-Shooter/VLT observations of a sample of 36 accreting low-mass stellar and sub-stellar objects (YSOs) in the Lupus star forming region, spanning a range in mass from ~0.03 to ~1.2Msun, but mostly with 0.1Msun < Mstar < 0.5Msun. Our aim is twofold: firstly, analyse the relationship between excess-continuum and line emission accretion diagnostics, and, secondly, to investigate the accretion properties in terms of the physical properties of the central object. The accretion luminosity (Lacc), and from it the accretion rate (Macc), is derived by modelling the excess emission, from the UV to the near-IR, as the continuum emission of a slab of hydrogen. The flux and luminosity (Ll) of a large number of emission lines of H, He, CaII, etc., observed simultaneously in the range from ~330nm to 2500nm, were computed. The luminosity of all the lines is well correlated with Lacc. We provide empirical relationships between Lacc and the luminosity of 39 emission lines, which have a lower dispersion as compared to previous relationships in the literature. Our measurements extend the Pab and Brg relationships to Lacc values about two orders of magnitude lower than those reported in previous studies. We confirm that different methodologies to measure Lacc and Macc yield significantly different results: Ha line profile modelling may underestimate Macc by 0.6 to 0.8dex with respect to Macc derived from continuum-excess measures. Such differences may explain the likely spurious bi-modal relationships between Macc and other YSOs properties reported in the literature. We derive Macc in the range 2e-12 -- 4e-8 Msun/yr and conclude that Macc is proportional to Mstar^1.8(+/-0.2), with a dispersion lower by a factor of about 2 than in previous studies. A number of properties indicate that the physical conditions of the accreting gas are similar over more than 5 orders of magnitude in Macc.
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    ABSTRACT: We investigate the diagnostic capabilities of the iron lines for tracing the physical conditions of the shock-excited gas in jets driven by pre-main sequence stars. We have analyzed the 300-2500 nm X-shooter spectra of two jets driven by the pre-main sequence stars ESO-Halpha 574 and Par-Lup 3-4. Both spectra are very rich in [FeII] lines over the whole spectral range; in addition, lines from [FeIII] are detected in the ESO-H\alpha 574 spectrum. NLTE codes along with codes for the ionization equilibrium are used to derive the gas excitation conditions of electron temperature and density, and fractional ionization. The iron gas-phase abundance is provided by comparing the iron lines emissivity with that of [OI] 630 nm. The [FeII] lines indicate ESO-Halpha 574 jet is, on average, colder (T_e = 9000 K), less dense (n_e = 2 10^4 cm^-3) and more ionized (x_e = 0.7) than the Par-Lup 3-4 jet (T_e = 13000 K, n_e = 6 10^4 cm^-3, x_e < 0.4), even if the existence of a higher density component (n_e = 2 10^5 cm^-3) is probed by the [FeIII] and [FeII] ultra-violet lines. Theoretical models suggest that the shock at work in ESO-Halpha 574 is faster and likely more energetic than the Par-Lup 3-4 shock. This latter feature is confirmed by the high percentage of gas-phase iron measured in ESO-Halpha 574 (50-60% of its solar abundance in comparison with less than 30% in Par-Lup 3-4), which testifies that the ESO-Halpha 574 shock is powerful enough to partially destroy the dust present inside the jet. This work demonstrates that a multiline Fe analysis can be effectively used to probe the excitation and ionization conditions of the gas in a jet without any assumption on ionic abundances. The main limitation on the diagnostics resides in the large uncertainties of the atomic data, which, however, can be overcome through a statistical approach involving many lines.
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2013; 778(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/778/1/71 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    B. Stelzer, J. M. Alcala, E. Whelan, A. Scholz
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    ABSTRACT: We discuss accretion and outflow properties of three very low-mass young stellar objects based on broad-band mid-resolution X-Shooter/VLT spectra. Our targets (FU TauA, 2M 1207-39, and Par-Lup3-4) have spectral types between M5 and M8, ages between 1 Myr and ~10 Myr, and are known to be accreting from previous studies. The final objective of our project is the determination of mass outflow to accretion rate for objects near or within the substellar regime as a probe for the T Tauri phase of brown dwarfs and the investigation of variability in the accretion and outflow processes.
    The European Physical Journal Conferences 09/2013; 64. DOI:10.1051/epjconf/20136408005

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Institutions

  • 1999–2014
    • The Astronomical Observatory of Brera
      Merate, Lombardy, Italy
    • European Southern Observatory
      Arching, Bavaria, Germany
  • 2004–2012
    • Astronomical Observatory of Trieste
      Trst, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • 2005–2009
    • National Institute of Astrophysics
      Roma, Latium, Italy
    • Università degli Studi di Salerno
      Fisciano, Campania, Italy
    • University of Catania
      Catania, Sicily, Italy
  • 2002–2004
    • University of Santiago, Chile
      CiudadSantiago, Santiago Metropolitan, Chile
  • 2003
    • Valparaiso University (USA)
      Вальпараисо, Indiana, United States
  • 2000
    • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1997–2000
    • Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
      Arching, Bavaria, Germany
    • Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica (INAOE)
      Cholula de Riva dabia, Puebla, Mexico