Italo Balestra
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Italo Balestra

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Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (13)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (2)

Publications Authored By Italo Balestra

Since galaxy clusters sit at the high-end of the mass function, the number of galaxy clusters both massive and concentrated enough to yield particularly large Einstein radii poses useful constraints on cosmological and structure formation models. To date, less than a handful of clusters are known to have Einstein radii exceeding $\sim40$" (for a source at $z_{s}\simeq2$, nominally). Here, we report an addition to that list of the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) selected cluster, PLCK G287. Read More

We reconstruct the radial profile of the projected gravitational potential of the galaxy cluster MACS-J1206 from 592 spectroscopic measurements of velocities of cluster members. For doing so, we use a method we have developed recently based on the Richardson-Lucy deprojection algorithm and an inversion of the spherically-symmetric Jeans equation. We find that, within the uncertainties, our reconstruction agrees very well with a potential reconstruction from weak and strong gravitational lensing as well as with a potential obtained from X-ray measurements. Read More

We present results from a comprehensive lensing analysis in HST data, of the complete CLASH cluster sample. We identify new multiple-images previously undiscovered allowing improved or first constraints on the cluster inner mass distributions and profiles. We combine these strong-lensing constraints with weak-lensing shape measurements within the HST FOV to jointly constrain the mass distributions. Read More


We investigate the environmental dependence of the mass-metallicty (MZ) relation and it's connection to galaxy stellar structures and morphologies. In our studies, we analyze galaxies in massive clusters at z~0.4 from the CLASH (HST) and CLASH-VLT surveys and measure their gas metallicities, star-formation rates, stellar structures and morphologies. Read More

A pressureless scenario for the Dark Matter (DM) fluid is a widely adopted hypothesis, despite the absence of a direct observational evidence. According to general relativity, the total mass-energy content of a system shapes the gravitational potential well, but different test particles perceive this potential in different ways depending on their properties. Cluster galaxy velocities, being $\ll$c, depend solely on the gravitational potential, whereas photon trajectories reflect the contributions from the gravitational potential plus a relativistic-pressure term that depends on the cluster mass. Read More

In this work we analyze the mass distribution of MACSJ1206.2-0847, especially focusing on the halo properties of its cluster members. The cluster appears relaxed in its X-ray emission, but has significant amounts of intracluster light which is not centrally concentrated, suggesting that galaxy-scale interactions are still ongoing despite the overall relaxed state. Read More

Recent work based on a global measurement of the ICM properties find evidence for an increase of the iron abundance in galaxy clusters with temperature around 2-4 keV. We have undertaken a study of the metal distribution in nearby clusters in this temperature range, aiming at resolving spatially the metal content of the ICM. The XMM observation of the first object of the sample, the cluster Abell 2028, reveals a complex structure of the cluster over scale of ~ 300 kpc, showing an interaction between two sub-clusters in a ``cometary'' configuration. Read More

Affiliations: 1INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, 2ESO - Garching, 3ESO - Garching, 4ESO - Chile, 5E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 6E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 7MPE-Garching, 8MPE-Garching, 9Wachovia Corporation, 10MPE-Garching, 11AIP - Potsdam, 12AIP - Potsdam, 13JHU, 14ESO - Garching, 15AIP - Potsdam

XMMU J1229+0151 is a rich galaxy cluster with redshift z=0.975, that was serendipitously detected in X-rays within the scope of the XMM-Newton Distant Cluster Project. HST/ACS observations in the i775 and z850 passbands, as well as VLT/FORS2 spectroscopy were further obtained, in addition to follow-up Near-Infrared (NIR) imaging in J- and Ks-bands with NTT/SOFI. Read More