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Research outline

Search and characterisation of exoplanets by using microlensing and transit observations.

The search for new planets is a continuously growing and evolving field of study. In the last two decades, more than two thousands of planets have been discovered especially after the launch of the Kepler mission. With the imminent launch of new satellites, like WFIRST, also gravitational microlensing will enter a new era, which is anticipated to be promising for the discovery of earth-like planets.

Thanks to the observations of the so-called microlensing events, towards the Galactic Bulge, we are able to measure the variations in the lightcurve of a background source magnified by a foreground star, and eventually the anomalies produced by a possible planetary companion orbiting the primary lens. This method is the only one capable of detecting small rocky planets beyond the snow line.

My role in this research field is both theoretical and observational. I realised, together with other experts in the field, the first complete catalogue of lightcurves produced by binary lens, and the classification scheme we used is suitable for an extension to planetary lens. From an observational point of view, I am active member of several different international collaborations, carrying on microlensing observations at the 0.6m Salerno University Telescope (SUO) and at the 1.54m Danish telescope, located in La Silla (Cile), within the MiNDSTEp consortium. By using Markov Chains Monte Carlo I am also involved in the modelling of the observed events, and in the specific I am currently working at the modelling of one event from the 2013 observing season, OB131394  (D’Ago et al., in preparation). I also develop codes for the simulation of binary and triple lens lightcurve.
Moreover, I collaborate with researchers from other universities, carrying on observations of transiting exoplanets (TEP) and asteroids, at the Salerno and Danish telescopes and at the 1.52m Cassini telescope located in Loiano (Bologna). Differently from the observation of microlensing events, which is based on the magnification of a background source, a transiting exoplanet is characterised when a star undergoes an eclipse event because of a hosted planet passing in front of the stellar disk. What we observe is a dip in the lightcurve of the hosting star and by modelling it we can directly measure the orbital period of the planet and infer constraints on other physical parameters, like its mass. This method is particularly sensitive to Hot Jupiters.

In the past, I also used to deal with High Energy Astrophysics, investigating the connection between the Globular Cluster system of NGC 1399, a cD galaxy in the Fornax cluster, and the population of Low-Mass X-Ray Binaries in the galactic halo, by exploiting X-ray and optic datasets from the Chandra satellite and the Hubble Space Telescope, respectively.


Research groups:



[1] Figuera R., ..., D’Ago G. et al. 2015, “Exploring the crowded central region of 10 Galactic globular clusters using EMCCDs: Variable star searches and new discoveries” Accepted for publication on A&A;

[2] Shvartzvald Y., ..., D’Ago G. et al. 2015, “Spitzer Microlens Measurement of a Massive Remnant in a Well-Separated Binary” Accepted for publication on ApJ;

[3] Zhu W., ..., D’Ago G. et al. 2015, “Mass Measurements of Isolated Objects from Space-based Microlensing” Accepted for publication on ApJ;

[4] Ciceri S., ..., D’Ago G. et al. 2015, “Multi-band observations of the transiting planets WASP-45b and WASP-46b” MNRAS, 456 (1), 990-1002;

[5] Bachelet E., ..., D’Ago G. et al. 2015, “Red noise versus planetary interpretations in the microlensing event OGLE-2013-BLG-446”, ApJ, 812, 2;

[6] Mancini L., ..., D’Ago G. et al. 2015, “Rotation periods and astrometric motions of the Luhman 16AB brown dwarfs by high-resolution lucky-imaging monitoring”, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 584, A104;

[7] Southworth J., ..., D’Ago G. et al. 2015, “Larger and faster: revised properties and a shorter orbital period for the WASP-57 planetary system from a pro-am collaboration”, MNRAS, 454 (3), pp.3094-3107;

[8] Fulton B.J., ..., D’Ago G. et al. 2015, “KELT-8b: A highly inflated transiting hot Jupiter and a new technique for extracting high-precision radial velocities from noisy spectra”, ApJ, 810, 1;

[9] Liebig C., D’Ago G., Bozza V., Dominik M. 2015, “The complete catalogue of light curves in equal-mass binary microlensing”, MNRAS, 450 (2), pp. 1565-1584;

[10] D’Ago G. et al. 2014, “The Luminosity Function of Low Mass X-ray Binaries in the Globular Cluster System of NGC 1399”, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 567, A2;

[11] D’Ago G. et al. “OGLE-2013-BLG-1394: How binary sources contaminate weak anomalies in microlensing events” (to be submitted to MNRAS);






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