Elena Pian - INAF-IASF Bologna

Elena Pian
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Elena Pian

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (27)
Astrophysics (15)
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (9)
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (8)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (2)
General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (1)

Publications Authored By Elena Pian

We show that the jet power $P_j$ and geometrically corrected $\gamma$-ray luminosity $L_\gamma$ for the X-ray binaries (XRBs) Cygnus X-1, Cygnus X-3, and V404 Cygni, and $\gamma$-ray upper limits for GRS 1915+105 and GX339-4, follow the universal scaling for the energetics of relativistic jets from black hole (BH) systems found by Nemmen et al. (2012) for blazars and GRBs. The observed peak $\gamma$-ray luminosity for XRBs is geometrically corrected; and the minimum jet power is estimated from the peak flux density of radio flares and the flare rise time. Read More

After several decades of extensive research the mechanism driving core-collapse supernovae (CCSNe) is still unclear. A common mechanism is a neutrino driven outflow, but others have been proposed. Among those, a long-standing idea is that jets play an important role in SN explosions. Read More

Authors: Elena Pian1
Affiliations: 1INAF, IASF Bologna and Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Italy

The INTEGRAL mission has played a major role in blazar science, thanks to its sensitive coverage of a spectral region (3-100 keV) that is critical for this type of sources, to its flexibility of scheduling and to the large field of view of its cameras. A number of flat-spectrum radio quasars (up to z ~ 3) and BL Lac objects were observed by INTEGRAL together with facilities at all wavelengths. These results have advanced our knowledge of blazars from a physical and cosmological point of view. Read More

The analysis of 176 gamma ray burst (GRB) afterglow plateaus observed by Swift from GRBs with known redshifts revealed that the subsample of long GRBs associated with supernovae (LONG-SNe) - 19 events - presents a very high correlation coefficient between the luminosity at the end of the plateau phase La and the end time of the plateau T*a, hereafter Dainotti relation. Furthermore, these SNe Ib/c associated with GRBs also obey the peak-magnitude stretch relation, similar to that used to standardize the SNe Ia. We here investigate a category of GRBs with plateau and associated with SNe to compare the Dainotti correlation for this sample with the correlation for long GRBs for which no associated SN has been observed (hereafter LONG-NO-SNe, 128 GRBs) and to check whether there is a difference among these sub-samples. Read More

Blazars radiate from radio through gamma-ray frequencies thereby being ideal targets for multifrequency studies. Such studies allow constraining the properties of the emitting jet. 3C 279 is among the most notable blazars and therefore subject to extensive multifrequency campaigns. Read More

The detection of the events GW150914 and GW151226, both consistent with the merger of a binary black hole system (BBH), opened the era of gravitational wave (GW) astronomy. Besides BBHs, the most promising GW sources are the coalescences of binary systems formed by two neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole. These mergers are thought to be connected with short Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs), therefore combined observations of GW and electromagnetic (EM) signals could definitively probe this association. Read More

Authors: Elena Pian1
Affiliations: 1INAF IASF Bologna and Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, Italy

Despite their different nature and physics, blazars and gamma-ray bursts have in common very powerful relativistic jets, which make them the most luminous sources in the Universe. The energy extraction from the central compact object, the jet collimation, the role and geometry of the magnetic fields, the structure of the jet itself represent still big enough questions, that a complete paradigm cannot yet be drawn. This article is concerned with the main observational facts about blazars and gamma-ray burst jets, based on multi-wavelength campaigns, and on the clues one can glean from these on jet formation, behavior and powering. Read More

During the first few days after explosion, Type II supernovae (SNe) are dominated by relatively simple physics. Theoretical predictions regarding early-time SN light curves in the ultraviolet (UV) and optical bands are thus quite robust. We present, for the first time, a sample of $57$ $R$-band Type II SN light curves that are well monitored during their rise, having $>5$ detections during the first 10 days after discovery, and a well-constrained time of explosion to within $1-3$ days. Read More

The Kiso Supernova Survey (KISS) is a high-cadence optical wide-field supernova (SN) survey. The primary goal of the survey is to catch the very early light of a SN, during the shock breakout phase. Detection of SN shock breakouts combined with multi-band photometry obtained with other facilities would provide detailed physical information on the progenitor stars of SNe. Read More

We present our discovery of dramatic variability in SDSS J1100+4421 by the high-cadence transient survey Kiso Supernova Survey (KISS). The source brightened in the optical by at least a factor of three within about half a day. Spectroscopic observations suggest that this object is likely a narrow-line Seyfert 1 galaxy (NLS1) at z=0. Read More

The abundance distribution of the elements in the ejecta of the peculiar, luminous Type Ia supernova (SN Ia) 1991T is obtained modelling spectra from before maximum light until a year after the explosion, with the method of "Abundance Tomography". SN 1991T is different from other slowly declining SNe Ia (e.g. Read More

Affiliations: 1INAF-OA Padova, 2INAF-IASF Bologna, 3Univ. Insubria

BL Lac objects are active nuclei, hosted in massive elliptical galaxies, the emission of which is dominated by a relativistic jet closely aligned with the line of sight. This implies the existence of a parent population of sources with a misaligned jet, that have been identified with low-power radiogalaxies. The spectrum of BL Lacs, dominated by non-thermal emission over the whole electromagnetic range, together with bright compact radio cores, high luminosities, rapid and large amplitude flux variability at all frequencies and strong polarization make these sources an optimal laboratory for high energy astrophysics. Read More

Literature data are collated for 38 stripped-envelope core-collapse supernovae (SE SNe; i.e. SNe IIb, Ib, Ic and Ic-BL) that have good light curve coverage in more than one optical band. Read More

Most Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) detected by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope exhibit a delay of up to about 10 seconds between the trigger time of the hard X-ray signal as measured by the Fermi GBM and the onset of the MeV-GeV counterpart detected by the LAT. This delay may hint at important physics, whether it is due to the intrinsic variability of the inner engine or it is related to quantum dispersion effects in the velocity of light propagation from the sources to the observer. It is critical to have a proper assessment of how these time delays affect the overall properties of the light curves. Read More

We discuss the results of the analysis of multi-wavelength data for the afterglows of GRB 081007 and GRB 090424, two bursts detected by Swift. One of them, GRB 081007, also shows a spectroscopically confirmed supernova, SN 2008hw, which resembles SN 1998bw in its absorption features, while the maximum luminosity is only about half as large as that of SN 1998bw. Bright optical flashes have been detected in both events, which allows us to derive solid constraints on the circumburst-matter density profile. Read More

Affiliations: 1INAF-OAPadova, 2Yale University, 3Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, 4NAOJ, 5George Washington Univ, 6Subaru Telescope, 7Weizmann Institute of Science

SN2010ah, a very broad-lined type Ic SN discovered by the Palomar Transient Factory, was interesting because of its relatively high luminosity and the high velocity of the absorption lines, which was comparable to that of GRB/SNe, suggesting a high explosion kinetic energy. However, no GRB was detected in association with the SN. Here, the properties of SN2010ah are determined with higher accuracy than previous studies through modelling. Read More

The Italian communities engaged in Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB) and supernova research have been using actively the ESO telescopes and have contributed to improve and refine the observing techniques and even to guide the characteristics and performances of the instruments that were developed. Members of these two communities have recently found ground for a close collaboration on the powerful supernovae that underlie some GRBs. I will review the programs that have led to some important discoveries and milestones on thermonuclear and core-collapse supernovae and on GRBs. Read More

We present the spectroscopic and photometric evolution of the nearby (z = 0.059) spectroscopically confirmed type Ic supernova, SN 2010bh, associated with the soft, long-duration gamma-ray burst (X-ray flash) GRB 100316D. Intensive follow-up observations of SN 2010bh were performed at the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) using the X-shooter and FORS2 instruments. Read More

Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) have been used empirically as standardized candles to reveal the accelerating universe even though fundamental details, such as the nature of the progenitor system and how the star explodes, remained a mystery. There is consensus that a white dwarf star explodes after accreting matter in a binary system, but the secondary could be anything from a main sequence star to a red giant, or even another white dwarf. The uncertainty stems from the fact that no recent SN Ia has been discovered close enough to detect the stars before explosion. Read More

We present optical, near-infrared, and Spitzer IRAC and MIPS observations of the host galaxy of the dark gamma-ray burst GRB 080207. The host is faint, with extremely red optical-infrared colors ($R-K\,=\,6.3$, 24\micron/$R-$band flux $\sim1000$) making it an extremely red object (ERO) and a dust-obscured galaxy (DOG). Read More

On May 31, 2011 UT a supernova (SN) exploded in the nearby galaxy M51 (the Whirlpool Galaxy). We discovered this event using small telescopes equipped with CCD cameras, as well as by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) survey, and rapidly confirmed it to be a Type II supernova. Our early light curve and spectroscopy indicates that PTF11eon resulted from the explosion of a relatively compact progenitor star as evidenced by the rapid shock-breakout cooling seen in the light curve, the relatively low temperature in early-time spectra and the prompt appearance of low-ionization spectral features. Read More

We investigate the constraints imposed on the luminosity function (LF) of long duration Gamma Ray Bursts (LGRBs) by the flux distribution of bursts detected by the GBM at ~1 MeV, and the implications of the non detection of the vast majority, ~95%, of the LGRBs at higher energy, ~1 GeV, by the LAT detector. We find a LF that is consistent with those determined by BATSE and Swift. The non detections by LAT set upper limits on the ratio R of the prompt fluence at ~1 GeV to that at ~1 MeV. Read More

We compare the luminosity function and rate inferred from the GBM long bursts peak flux distribution with those inferred from the Swift and BATSE peak flux distribution. We find that the GBM, BATSE and the Swift peak fluxes can be fitted by the same luminosity function implying the consistency of these three samples. Using the trigger algorithm of the LAT instrument we derive important information on the flux at 100 MeV compared to lower energy detected by the GBM. Read More

Affiliations: 1INAF-OATrieste, Italy, 2INAF-IFC, Palermo, Italy, 3Tel-Aviv Univ., Israel, 4Penn State, 5Penn State, 6INAF-IFC, Palermo, Italy

We have observed four low-luminosity active galactic nuclei classified as Type 1 LINERs with the X-ray Telescope (XRT) and the UltraViolet-Optical Telescope (UVOT) onboard Swift, in an attempt to clarify the main powering mechanism of this class of nearby sources. Among our targets, we detect X-ray variability in NGC 3998 for the first time. The light curves of this object reveal variations of up to 30% amplitude in half a day, with no significant spectral variability on this time scale. Read More

Affiliations: 1INAF-OATs, Italy, 2INAF-OABrera, Italy, 3INAF-OABrera, Italy, 4NASA-GSFC, 5NASA-GSFC, 6NASA-GSFC, 7INAF-OAPd, 8INAF-OABrera, Italy, 9NASA-GSFC, 10NASA-GSFC

We observed the massive binary stellar system of Eta Carinae in the 0.3-10 keV energy range with the X-ray Telescope onboard the Swift satellite during the period 15 December 2008 - 11 March 2009, i.e. Read More

We report simultaneous multi-frequency observations of the blazar PG 1553+113, that were carried out in March-April 2008. Optical, X-ray, high-energy (HE; greater than 100 MeV) gamma-ray, and very-high- energy (VHE; greater than 100 GeV) gamma-ray data were obtained with the KVA, REM, RossiXTE/ASM, AGILE and MAGIC telescopes. This is the first simultaneous broad-band (i. Read More

We present optical spectroscopic and photometric observations of supernova (SN) 2008D, associated with the luminous X-ray transient 080109, at >300 days after the explosion (nebular phases). We also give flux measurements of emission lines from the H II region at the site of the SN, and estimates of the local metallicity. The brightness of the SN at nebular phases is consistent with the prediction of the explosion models with an ejected 56Ni mass of 0. Read More

We present an optical spectropolarimetric observation of the unique Type Ib supernova (SN) 2005bf at 8 days after the second maximum. The data, combined with the polarization spectrum taken at 6 days before the second maximum (Maund et al. 2007a), enable us to closely examine the intrinsic properties of the SN. Read More

Affiliations: 1Queen's University Belfast, 2Queen's University Belfast, 3INAF-OAPD Padova, 4INAF-OAPD Padova, 5INAF-OAPD Padova, 6Begues Observatory Barcellona, 7MPA Garching, 8Caltech Pasadena, 9Arguines Observatory Segorbe, 10INAF-OAPD Padova, 11Taurus Hill Observatory Kangaslampi, 12Taurus Hill Observatory Kangaslampi, 13INAF-OAT Trieste, 14INAC-OACT Catania, 15INAF-OAPD Padova, 16Queen's University Belfast

The final fate of massive stars depends on many factors, including mass, rotation rate, magnetic fields and metallicity. Theory suggests that some massive stars (initially greater than 25-30 solar masses) end up as Wolf-Rayet stars which are deficient in hydrogen because of mass loss through strong stellar winds. The most massive of these stars have cores which may form a black hole and theory predicts that the resulting explosion produces ejecta of low kinetic energy, a faint optical display and a small mass fraction of radioactive nickel(1,2,3). Read More

We report the 2006-2008 light curves obtained with the REM telescope in VRIJHK bands for the two BL Lac objects PKS 0537-441 and PKS 2155-304 Read More

The only supernovae (SNe) to have shown early gamma-ray or X-ray emission thus far are overenergetic, broad-lined Type Ic SNe (Hypernovae - HNe). Recently, SN 2008D shows several novel features: (i) weak XRF, (ii) an early, narrow optical peak, (iii) disappearance of the broad lines typical of SNIc HNe, (iv) development of He lines as in SNeIb. Detailed analysis shows that SN 2008D was not a normal SN: its explosion energy (KE ~ 6*10^{51} erg) and ejected mass (~7 Msun) are intermediate between normal SNeIbc and HNe. Read More

Core-collapse supernovae (CC-SNe) are the explosions that announce the death of massive stars. Some CC-SNe are linked to long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and are highly aspherical. One important question is to what extent asphericity is common to all CC-SNe. Read More

Affiliations: 1INAF - Trieste Astronomical Observatory, 2INAF - IASF, Bologna, 3INAF - Brera Astronomical Observatory
Category: Astrophysics

The blazars 3C 454.3, PKS 0537-441 and PKS 2155-304 are traditionally known to be among the most active sources of this class. They emit at all frequencies, up to the gamma-rays, and are good probes of multiwavelength nuclear variability. Read More

Optical spectroscopy and photometry of SN 2006aj have been performed with the Subaru telescope at t > 200 days after GRB060218, the X-ray Flash with which it was associated. Strong nebular emission-lines with an expansion velocity of v ~ 7,300 km/s were detected. The peaked but relatively broad [OI]6300,6363 suggests the existence of ~ 2 Msun of materials in which ~1. Read More

Nebular-phase spectra of SN 2006aj, which was discovered in coincidence with X-ray flash 060218, were obtained with Keck in 2006 July and the Very Large Telescope in 2006 September. At the latter epoch spectropolarimetry was also attempted, yielding an upper limit of ~ 2% for the polarization. The spectra show strong emission lines of [OI] and MgI], as expected from a Type Ic supernova, but weak CaII lines. Read More


(Abridged) We present a detailed study of the host galaxy of GRB 011121 (at z = 0.36) based on high-resolution imaging in 5 broad-band, optical and near-infrared filters with HST and VLT/ISAAC. The surface brightness profile of this galaxy is best fitted by a Sersic law with index ~ 2 - 2. Read More

The supernova SN 2006aj associated with GRB 060218 is the second-closest GRB-SN observed to date ($z$=0.033) and is the clearest example of a SN associated with a Swift GRB with the earliest optical spectroscopy. Its optical data showed that this is the fastest evolving and among the least luminous GRB-SNe (70% as luminous as SN1998bw). Read More

We present near-infrared (nIR) and optical observations of the afterglow of GRB 030115. Discovered in an infrared search at Kitt Peak 5 hours after the burst trigger, this afterglow is amongst the faintest observed in the R-band at an early epoch, and exhibits very red colors, with $R-K\approx 6$. The magnitude of the optical afterglow of GRB 030115 is fainter than many upper limits for other bursts, suggesting that without early nIR observations it would have been classified as a ``dark'' burst. Read More

Affiliations: 1MPA, Germany, 2NAOC, China, 3U. Tokyo, Japan, 4INAF-OATs, Italy, 5INAF-OATs, Italy, 6U. Tokyo, Japan, 7U. Tokyo, Japan, 8U. Tokyo, Japan, 9UC Berkeley, CA
Category: Astrophysics

Supernovae connected with long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are hyper-energetic explosion resulting from the collapse of very massive stars (about 40Mo, where Mo is the mass of the Sun) stripped of their outher hydrogen and helium envelopes. A very massive progenitor, collapsing to a black hole, was thought to be a requirement for the launch of a GRB. Here we report the results of modelling the spectra and light curve of SN 2006aj, which demonstrate that the supernova had a much smaller explosion energy and ejected much less mass than the other GRB-sueprnovae, suggesting that it was produced by a star whose initial mass was only about 20Mo. Read More

The Gamma-Ray Burst 031203 at a redshift z=0.1055 revealed a highly reddened Type Ic Supernova, SN 2003lw, in its afterglow light. This is the third well established case of a link between a long-duration GRB and a type Ic SN. Read More

In Spring 2005, the blazar 3C454.3 underwent a dramatic outburst at all wavelengths from mm to X-rays. This prompted INTEGRAL observations, accomplished in 15-18 May 2005. Read More

Affiliations: 1INAF, Astronomical Observatory of Trieste, Italy, 2INAF, Astronomical Observatory of Padova, Italy, 3Department of Physics and Mathematics, University of Insubria, Italy
Category: Astrophysics

The ultraviolet (UV) spectra of 16 blazars ( ~1) from the archives of the Hubble Space Telescope Faint Object Spectrograph have been analyzed in order to study in a systematic way the properties oftheir broad UV emission lines. We find that the luminosities of the most prominent and intense lines, Ly_alpha and C IV lambda1549, are similar to those of normal radio-loud quasars at comparable redshifts. However, the equivalent widths of blazar lines are significantly smaller than those of radio-loud quasars. Read More

X-ray Flashes (XRFs) are, like Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs), thought to signal the collapse of massive stars in distant galaxies. Many models posit that the isotropic equivalent energies of XRFs are lower than those for GRBs, such that they are visible from a reduced range of distances when compared with GRBs. Here we present the results of two epoch Hubble Space Telescope imaging of two XRFs. Read More

Over the past five years evidence has mounted that long-duration (> 2 s) gamma-ray bursts (GRBs)--the most brilliant of all astronomical explosions--signal the collapse of massive stars in our Universe. This evidence was originally based on the probable association of one unusual GRB with a supernova, but now includes the association of GRBs with regions of massive star formation in distant galaxies, the appearance of supernova-like 'bumps' in the optical afterglow light curves of several bursts and lines of freshly synthesized elements in the spectra of a few X-ray afterglows. These observations support, but do not yet conclusively demonstrate, the idea that long-duration GRBs are associated with the deaths of massive stars, presumably arising from core collapse. Read More