M. Massardi

Bologna Center, Bolonia, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

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Publications (156)374.11 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In recent years there has been a paradigm shift from centralised to geographically distributed resources. Individual entities are no longer able to host or afford the necessary expertise in-house, and, as a consequence, society increasingly relies on widespread collaborations. Although such collaborations are now the norm for scientific projects, more technical structures providing support to a distributed scientific community without direct financial or other material benefits are scarce. The network of European ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) nodes is an example of such an internationally distributed user support network. It is an organised effort to provide the European ALMA user community with uniform expert support to enable optimal usage and scientific output of the ALMA facility. The network model for the European ARC nodes is described in terms of its organisation, communication strategies and user support.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016
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    ABSTRACT: The Planck–ATCA Co-eval Observations (PACO) project has yielded observations of 464 sources with the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) between 4.5 and 40 GHz. The main purpose of the project was to investigate the spectral properties of mm-selected radio sources at frequencies below and overlapping with the ESA's Planck satellite frequency bands, minimizing the variability effects by observing almost simultaneously with the first two Planck all-sky surveys. In this paper we present the whole catalogue of observations in total intensity. By comparing PACO with the various measures of Planck Catalog of Compact Sources (PCCS) flux densities we found the best consistency with the PCCS ‘detection pipeline’ photometry (DETFLUX) that we used to investigate the spectral properties of sources from 5 to 217 GHz. Of our sources, 91 per cent have remarkably smooth spectrum, well described by a double power-law over the full range. This suggests a single emitting region, at variance with the notion that ‘flat’ spectra result from the superposition of the emissions from different compact regions, self-absorbed up to different frequencies. Most of the objects show a spectral steepening above ≃30 GHz, consistent with synchrotron emission becoming optically thin. Thus, the classical dichotomy between flat-spectrum/compact and steep-spectrum/extended radio sources, well established at cm wavelengths, breaks down at mm wavelengths. The mm-wave spectra do not show indications of the spectral break expected as the effect of ‘electron ageing’, suggesting young source ages.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: The Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU) is a proposed radio continuum survey of the Southern Hemisphere up to declination +30 deg., with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP). EMU will use an automated source identification and measurement approach that is demonstrably optimal, to maximise the reliability, utility and robustness of the resulting radio source catalogues. As part of the process of achieving this aim, a "Data Challenge" has been conducted, providing international teams the opportunity to test a variety of source finders on a set of simulated images. The aim is to quantify the accuracy of existing automated source finding and measurement approaches, and to identify potential limitations. The Challenge attracted nine independent teams, who tested eleven different source finding tools. In addition, the Challenge initiators also tested the current ASKAPsoft source-finding tool to establish how it could benefit from incorporating successful features of the other tools. Here we present the results of the Data Challenge, identifying the successes and limitations for this broad variety of the current generation of radio source finding tools. As expected, most finders demonstrate completeness levels close to 100% at 10sigma dropping to levels around 10% by 5sigma. The reliability is typically close to 100% at 10sigma, with performance to lower sensitivities varying greatly between finders. All finders demonstrate the usual trade-off between completeness and reliability, whereby maintaining a high completeness at low signal-to-noise comes at the expense of reduced reliability, and vice-versa. We conclude with a series of recommendations for improving the performance of the ASKAPsoft source-finding tool.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia
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    ABSTRACT: The Premiale Project "Science and Technology in Italy for the upgraded ALMA Observatory - iALMA" has the goal of strengthening the scientific, technological and industrial Italian contribution to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the largest ground based international infrastructure for the study of the Universe in the microwave. One of the main objectives of the Science Working Group (SWG) inside iALMA, the Work Package 1, is to develop the Italian contribution to the Science Case for the ALMA Band 2 or Band 2+3 receiver. ALMA Band 2 receiver spans from ~67 GHz (bounded by an opaque line complex of ozone lines) up to 90 GHz which overlaps with the lower frequency end of ALMA Band 3. Receiver technology has advanced since the original definition of the ALMA frequency bands. It is now feasible to produce a single receiver which could cover the whole frequency range from 67 GHz to 116 GHz, encompassing Band 2 and Band 3 in a single receiver cartridge, a so called Band 2+3 system. In addition, upgrades of the ALMA system are now foreseen that should double the bandwidth to 16 GHz. The science drivers discussed below therefore also discuss the advantages of these two enhancements over the originally foreseen Band 2 system.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2015
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    ABSTRACT: We update the all-sky Planck catalogue of 1227 clusters and cluster candidates (PSZ1) published in March 2013, derived from detections of the Sunyaev-Zeldovich (SZ) effect using the first 15.5 months of Planck satellite observations. As an addendum, we deliver an updated version of the PSZ1 catalogue, reporting the further confirmation of 86 Planck-discovered clusters. In total, the PSZ1 now contains 947 confirmed clusters, of which 214 were confirmed as newly discovered clusters through follow-up observations undertaken by the Planck Collaboration. The updated PSZ1 contains redshifts for 913 systems, of which 736 (similar to 80.6%) are spectroscopic, and associated mass estimates derived from the Y-z mass proxy. We also provide a new SZ quality flag for the remaining 280 candidates. This flag was derived from a novel artificial neural-network classification of the SZ signal. Based on this assessment, the purity of the updated PSZ1 catalogue is estimated to be 94%. In this release, we provide the full updated catalogue and an additional readme file with further information on the Planck SZ detections.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015
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    ABSTRACT: A major goal of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is to make accurate images with resolutions of tens of milliarcseconds, which at submillimeter (submm) wavelengths requires baselines up to ~15 km. To develop and test this capability, a Long Baseline Campaign (LBC) was carried out from September to late November 2014, culminating in end-to-end observations, calibrations, and imaging of selected Science Verification (SV) targets. This paper presents an overview of the campaign and its main results, including an investigation of the short-term coherence properties and systematic phase errors over the long baselines at the ALMA site, a summary of the SV targets and observations, and recommendations for science observing strategies at long baselines. Deep ALMA images of the quasar 3C138 at 97 and 241 GHz are also compared to VLA 43 GHz results, demonstrating an agreement at a level of a few percent. As a result of the extensive program of LBC testing, the highly successful SV imaging at long baselines achieved angular resolutions as fine as 19 mas at ~350 GHz. Observing with ALMA on baselines of up to 15 km is now possible, and opens up new parameter space for submm astronomy.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015
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    ABSTRACT: A major goal of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is to make accurate images with resolutions of tens of milliarcseconds, which at submillimeter (submm) wavelengths requires baselines up to ~15 km. To develop and test this capability, a Long Baseline Campaign (LBC) was carried out from September to late November 2014, culminating in end-to-end observations, calibrations, and imaging of selected Science Verification (SV) targets. This paper presents an overview of the campaign and its main results, including an investigation of the short-term coherence properties and systematic phase errors over the long baselines at the ALMA site, a summary of the SV targets and observations, and recommendations for science observing strategies at long baselines. Deep ALMA images of the quasar 3C138 at 97 and 241 GHz are also compared to VLA 43 GHz results, demonstrating an agreement at a level of a few percent. As a result of the extensive program of LBC testing, the highly successful SV imaging at long baselines achieved angular resolutions as fine as 19 mas at ~350 GHz. Observing with ALMA on baselines of up to 15 km is now possible, and opens up new parameter space for submm astronomy.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal Letters
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed a technique to robustly select high-z (>4) dusty, massive, star forming galaxies using far-IR Herschel/SPIRE data. Follow up of the first handful of sources has proven this technique to be both efficient and reliable, yet the existence of these sources is emphatically not predicted by current models. mm spectroscopy of the first few sources has confirmed that they predominantly lie above z > 4, including one source at z=6.34, the current highest redshift for luminous dusty star forming galaxies. To constrain the stellar masses and populations of these extreme galaxies, IRAC is required. Here we propose IRAC imaging of 31 Herschel/SPIRE high-z candidates selected from the HerMES and Herschel-ATLAS surveys to: 1) provide a complete census of star formation and stellar populations, and 2) contribute to the identification of LBG sources associated with the large scale structures that host these dusty starbursts.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2014
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    Full-text · Dataset · Nov 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Submitted on behalf of Planck Collaboration by Clive Dickinson. 30 pages, 24 figures, 3 tables
    Full-text · Dataset · Nov 2014
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the data processing pipeline of the Planck Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) data processing centre (DPC) to create and characterize full-sky maps based on the first 15.5 months of operations at 30, 44, and 70 GHz. In particular, we discuss the various steps involved in reducing the data, from telemetry packets through to the production of cleaned, calibrated timelines and calibrated frequency maps. Data are continuously calibrated using the modulation induced on the mean temperature of the cosmic microwave background radiation by the proper motion of the spacecraft. Sky signals other than the dipole are removed by an iterative procedure based on simultaneous fitting of calibration parameters and sky maps. Noise properties are estimated from time-ordered data after the sky signal has been removed, using a generalized least squares map-making algorithm. A destriping code (Madam) is employed to combine radiometric data and pointing information into sky maps, minimizing the variance of correlated noise. Noise covariance matrices, required to compute statistical uncertainties on LFI and Planck products, are also produced. Main beams are estimated down to the ≈−20 dB level using Jupiter transits, which are also used for the geometrical calibration of the focal plane.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: This paper presents an all-sky model of dust emission from the Planck 857, 545 and 353 GHz, and IRAS 100 micron data. Using a modified black-body fit to the data we present all-sky maps of the dust optical depth, temperature, and spectral index over the 353-3000 GHz range. This model is a tight representation of the data at 5 arcmin. It shows variations of the order of 30 % compared with the widely-used model of Finkbeiner, Davis, and Schlegel. The Planck data allow us to estimate the dust temperature uniformly over the whole sky, providing an improved estimate of the dust optical depth compared to previous all-sky dust model, especially in high-contrast molecular regions. An increase of the dust opacity at 353 GHz, tau_353/N_H, from the diffuse to the denser interstellar medium (ISM) is reported. It is associated with a decrease in the observed dust temperature, T_obs, that could be due at least in part to the increased dust opacity. We also report an excess of dust emission at HI column densities lower than 10^20 cm^-2 that could be the signature of dust in the warm ionized medium. In the diffuse ISM at high Galactic latitude, we report an anti-correlation between tau_353/N_H and T_obs while the dust specific luminosity, i.e., the total dust emission integrated over frequency (the radiance) per hydrogen atom, stays about constant. The implication is that in the diffuse high-latitude ISM tau_353 is not as reliable a tracer of dust column density as we conclude it is in molecular clouds where the correlation of tau_353 with dust extinction estimated using colour excess measurements on stars is strong. To estimate Galactic E(B-V) in extragalactic fields at high latitude we develop a new method based on the thermal dust radiance, instead of the dust optical depth, calibrated to E(B-V) using reddening measurements of quasars deduced from Sloan Digital Sky Survey data.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: The dust-HI correlation is used to characterize the emission properties of dust in the diffuse interstellar medium. We cross-correlate sky maps from Planck, WMAP, and DIRBE, at 17 frequencies from 23 to 3000 GHz, with the Parkes survey of the 21-cm line emission of neutral atomic hydrogen, over a contiguous area of 7500 deg$^2$ centred on the southern Galactic pole. Our analysis yields four specific results. (1) The dust temperature is observed to be anti-correlated with the dust emissivity and opacity. We interpret this result as evidence for dust evolution within the diffuse ISM. The mean dust opacity is measured to be $(7.1 \pm 0.6) 10^{-27} cm^2/H \times (\nu/353\, GHz)^{1.53\pm0.03}$ for $100 < \nu <353$GHz. (2) We map the spectral index of dust emission at millimetre wavelengths, which is remarkably constant at $\beta_{mm} = 1.51\pm 0.13$. We compare it with the far infrared spectral index beta_FIR derived from greybody fits at higher frequencies, and find a systematic difference, $\beta_{mm}-\beta_{FIR} = -0.15$, which suggests that the dust SED flattens at $\nu < 353\,$GHz. (3) We present spectral fits of the microwave emission correlated with HI from 23 to 353 GHz, which separate dust and anomalous microwave emission. The flattening of the dust SED can be accounted for with an additional component with a blackbody spectrum, which accounts for $(26 \pm 6)$% of the dust emission at 100 GHz and could represent magnetic dipole emission. Alternatively, it could account for an increasing contribution of carbon dust, or a flattening of the emissivity of amorphous silicates, at millimetre wavelengths. These interpretations make different predictions for the dust polarization SED. (4) We identify a Galactic contribution to the residuals of the dust-HI correlation, which we model with variations of the dust emissivity on angular scales smaller than that of our correlation analysis.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: The ESA's Planck satellite, dedicated to studying the early Universe and its subsequent evolution, was launched 14 May 2009 and has been scanning the microwave and submillimetre sky continuously since 12 August 2009. This paper gives an overview of the mission and its performance, the processing, analysis, and characteristics of the data, the scientific results, and the science data products and papers in the release. The science products include maps of the CMB and diffuse extragalactic foregrounds, a catalogue of compact Galactic and extragalactic sources, and a list of sources detected through the SZ effect. The likelihood code used to assess cosmological models against the Planck data and a lensing likelihood are described. Scientific results include robust support for the standard six-parameter LCDM model of cosmology and improved measurements of its parameters, including a highly significant deviation from scale invariance of the primordial power spectrum. The Planck values for these parameters and others derived from them are significantly different from those previously determined. Several large-scale anomalies in the temperature distribution of the CMB, first detected by WMAP, are confirmed with higher confidence. Planck sets new limits on the number and mass of neutrinos, and has measured gravitational lensing of CMB anisotropies at greater than 25 sigma. Planck finds no evidence for non-Gaussianity in the CMB. Planck's results agree well with results from the measurements of baryon acoustic oscillations. Planck finds a lower Hubble constant than found in some more local measures. Some tension is also present between the amplitude of matter fluctuations derived from CMB data and that derived from SZ data. The Planck and WMAP power spectra are offset from each other by an average level of about 2% around the first acoustic peak.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    Full-text · Dataset · Aug 2014
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    ABSTRACT: We present a project aimed at realizing an Italian aperture array demonstrator constituted by prototypical Vivaldi antennas designed to operate at radio frequencies below 500 MHz. We focus on an array composed of a core plus a few satellite phased-array stations to be installed at the Sardinia Radio Telescope (SRT) site. The antenna elements are mobile and thus it will be possible to investigate the performance in terms of both uv-coverage and synthesized resolution resulting from different configurations of the array.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Jul 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxies are one of the most common type of galaxy in the Universe. They are crucial objects for near-field cosmology, especially for the study of galaxy formation and evolution at small scales. In addition, dSphs are optimal targets to study the nature of dark matter. However, while we begin to have very deep optical photometric observations of the stellar population in these objects, little is known so far about their diffuse emission at any observing frequency, and hence on the population of thermal and non-thermal plasma possibly residing within these structures. In this paper, we present deep radio observations of six local dSphs performed with the Australia Telescope Compact Array at 16 cm wavelength. We mapped a region of radius of about one degree around three "classical" dSphs, Carina, Fornax, and Sculptor, and of about half of degree around three "ultra-faint" dSphs, BootesII, Segue2, and Hercules. The rms noise level is below 0.05 mJy for all the maps. A catalogue including the 1392 sources detected in the six dSph fields is reported. The main properties of the background sources are discussed, with positions and fluxes of brightest objects compared with the FIRST, NVSS, and SUMSS observations of the same fields. The observed population of radio emitters in these fields is dominated by synchrotron sources. We compute the associated source number counts at 2 GHz down to fluxes of 0.25 mJy, which prove to be in agreement with AGN count models.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: Diffuse radio emission in the interstellar medium of dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxies is an important aspect of the role of dwarf galaxies in the magnetization of the intracluster and inter-galactic medium in the early universe, competing with AGNs and starburst galaxy activity. The current quiescent phase of Local Group dSphs has so far dampened the possibility of measuring their non-thermal emissions and in turn of fully understanding connected aspects of dSph properties and evolution. Deep observations are required in order to probe the emission associated to the very-low level of dSph star formation or, possibly, to particle dark matter annihilating or decaying in the dSph halo. In this work, we employ radio observations of six local dSphs to test the presence of a diffuse component over typical scales of few arcmin. The dSph targets require wide-field low-frequency observations which were conducted with the Australia Telescope Compact Array in the frequency band 1.1-3.1 GHz. The achieved rms sensitivity is below 0.05 mJy/beam. We observed the dSph fields with both a compact array and long baselines. The high-resolution data were used to map small-scale background sources which were then subtracted to significantly reduce the confusion limit of the short-baseline maps. The latter were used for the extended emission search and have a synthesized beam of about 1 arcmin. We found no significant detection of a diffuse radio continuum component. After a detailed discussion on the modeling of the cosmic-ray (CR) electron distribution and on the dSph magnetic properties, we present bounds on several physical quantities related to the dSphs, such that the total radio flux, the angular shape of the radio emissivity, the equipartition magnetic field, and the injection and equilibrium distributions of CR electrons. Finally, we discuss the connection to far-infrared and X-ray observations.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: We performed a deep search for radio synchrotron emissions induced by weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) annihilation or decay in six dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxies of the Local Group. Observations were conducted with the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) at 16 cm wavelength, with an rms sensitivity better than 0.05 mJy/beam in each field. In this work, we first discuss the uncertainties associated with the modeling of the expected signal, such as the shape of the dark matter (DM) profile and the dSph magnetic properties. We then investigate the possibility that point-sources detected in the proximity of the dSph optical center might be due to the emission from a DM cuspy profile. No evidence for an extended emission over a size of few arcmin (which is the DM halo size) has been detected. We present the associated bounds on the WIMP parameter space for different annihilation/decay final states and for different astrophysical assumptions. If the confinement of electrons and positrons in the dSph is such that the majority of their power is radiated within the dSph region, we obtain constraints on the WIMP annihilation rate which are well below the thermal value for masses up to few TeV. On the other hand, for conservative assumptions on the dSph magnetic properties, the bounds can be dramatically relaxed. We show however that, within the next 10 years and regardless of the astrophysical assumptions, it will be possible to progressively close in on the full parameter space of WIMPs by searching for radio signals in dSphs with SKA and its precursors.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
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    ABSTRACT: Planck data when combined with ancillary data provide a unique opportunity to separate the diffuse emission components of the inner Galaxy. The purpose of the paper is to elucidate the morphology of the various emission components in the strong star-formation region lying inside the solar radius and to clarify the relationship between the various components. The region of the Galactic plane covered is l=300-0-60deg where star-formation is highest and the emission is strong enough to make meaningful component separation. The latitude widths in this longitude range lie between 1deg and 2deg, which correspond to FWHM z-widths of 100-200pc at a typical distance of 6kpc. The four emission components studied here are synchrotron, free-free, anomalous microwave emission (AME), and thermal (vibrational) dust emission. These components are identified by constructing spectral energy distributions (SEDs) at positions along the Galactic plane using the wide frequency coverage of Planck (28.4-857GHz) in combination with low-frequency radio data at 0.408-2.3GHz plus WMAP data at 23-94GHz, along with far-infrared (FIR) data from DIRBE and IRAS. The free-free component is determined from radio recombination line (RRL) data. AME is found to be comparable in brightness to the free-free emission on the Galactic plane in the frequency range 20-40GHz with a width in latitude similar to that of the thermal dust; it comprises 45+/-1% of the total 28.4GHz emission in the longitude range l=300-0-60deg. The free-free component is the narrowest, reflecting the fact that it is produced by current star-formation as traced by the narrow distribution of OB stars. It is the dominant emission on the plane between 60 and 100GHz. RRLs from this ionized gas are used to assess its distance, leading to a free-free z-width of FWHM ~100pc...(abridged)
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Astronomy and Astrophysics

Publication Stats

4k Citations
374.11 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013
    • Bologna Center
      Bolonia, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 2004-2013
    • The Astronomical Observatory of Brera
      Merate, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2012
    • INO - Istituto Nazionale di Ottica
      Florens, Tuscany, Italy
    • University of Iceland
      • Science Institute
      Reikiavik, Capital Region, Iceland
  • 2011
    • Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati di Trieste
      Trst, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
    • National Institute of Astrophysics
      Roma, Latium, Italy