Marianna Annunziatella

Marianna Annunziatella
Contact Info:
Tufts University
Physics and Astronomy
574 Boston Avenue
Room 312A
Medford, MA 02155

Office: 617-627-5362

Postdoctoral Associate

Analysis of large astronomical datasetes from space and ground based observatories. Scientific interests: Galaxy evolution, galaxy kinematics and dynamics, clusters of galaxies, observational cosmology.

My research has been primarly focused on galaxy evolution and in particular on its relation with the environment. The ideal places to study the interplay between galaxy evolution and environment are clusters of galaxies, since they offer rather extreme physical conditions for the galaxies they host. My past research focused on the enviromental effect on the galaxy stellar mass distribution, i.e. the galaxy stellar mass function. To better constrain the physical processes causally related to the environment, it is important to target the low-mass tail of the galaxy population where intrinsic processes able to quench the star formation in the galaxy are expected to be less efficient. By taking advantage of a large spectroscopic and photometric sample of cluster galaxies, I have been able to identify the effects of tidal interactions of low mass passive galaxies in the cluster center and identify them as possible main contributors to the intracluster light. Furthermore, the combination of the analysis of the stellar mass distribution together with that of structural properties of cluster galaxies pointed out to a scenario in which low-mass passive galaxies are present even at large radii, and not only in the cluster center, suggesting harassment as one of the main quenching mechanisms.

Clusters of galaxies serve also as physics laboratories to explore the role and nature of dark matter, providing unique tests of any viable cosmology and structure formation scenario and possible modifications of the laws of gravity. By using a combination of space based observations (HST), integral field spectroscopy (MUSE) and X-ray data (Chandra), I was able to disentangle the dark-matter distribution in a massive galaxy cluster deriving for the first time the different contribution of stellar, hot gas and dark-matter to the total mass profile in the innermost region of the cluster.

I am currently part of a collaboration constructing comprehensive photometric catalog of wide-field ground based surveys. Due to the wide coverage, both spatial and in terms of redshift, these catalogs will be ideal to shed further light on still unanswered questions in galaxy evolution.