MAGCOW - The ​​​​​​​​Magnetised Cosmic Web

  ​​​​​​​ This project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant no.714196 MAGCOW-The Magnetised Cosmic Web, active from 2017 to 2022.
The Main Host Insitution is the University of Bologna , and the Secondary Host is the University of Hamburg.
MAGCOW will investigate the​​​​​​​​​​ origin of extragalactic magnetic fields , combining new big cosmological simulations and radio observations.

The Principal Investigator is   Franco Vazza.

MAGCOW will in total recruit 3 Post-Doc Fellows and 3 PhD Students during its 5 years of funding.

Open positions: there are no open positions at the moment.
Available Master Theses
Results & Publications

Elapsed months: 5              Paper: 5 (accepted)      3: submitted        People (full time) : 4 

Extragalactic magnetic fields and axionlike particles

Our simulated extragalactic field models were central to a work appeared on Physical Review Letter (Montanino, Vazza, Mirizzi & Viel 2017) which investigated the oscillation on TeV photons into axionlike particles in realistic models of extragalactic magnetic fields.
See paper here ,  press release here and F. Vazza's interview here .

Simulations of extragalactic magnetic fields and of their observables

In a paper accepted for a special issue of Classic and Quantum Gravity on Cosmological Magnetic Fields we stuied 26 large cosmological simulations with different prescriptions for the origin and evolution of extragalactic magnetic fields. These new data can  predict the observational signatures of different models in synchrotron radio emission, Faraday Rotation measure, in the propagation of ultra-high energy cosmic rays and in the rotation measure of distant Fast Radio Bursts. See paper here  and public repository of data here .  

Propagation of ultra-high energy cosmic rays in the (simulated) Local Universe

With new ENZO-MHD simulations of the Local Universe, obtained from initial conditions produced by J. Sorce and collaborators, we studied the the propagation of UHECRs in the 10​18-1021 eV energy range (both protons and irons) in 6  different models of extragalactic magnetic fields.  
For most of the diagnostic we investigated (arrival energy spectrum, harmonic analysis of arrival directions and composition) the UHECR carry little information on extragalactic magnetic fields and are more linked to the distribution of sources. 
See paper  by S. Hackstein, Vazza, Bruggen et al. published by MNRAS.

Resolved magnetic dynamo action in the simulated intracluster medium

For the first time, we could simulate the so called turbulent dynamo process in the gas of galaxy clusters in its entirety, showing that the memory of any seed magnetic field is lost during the growth of clusters, because of the dynamo itself. Very importantly, we see that the resulting magnetic field configuration has significant departures from the commonly predicted gaussian distribution, has not a power-law distribution, and this can lead to a significant revision of existing modelling of observed Faraday Rotation in clusters.
See MNRAS  paper  by Vazza, Brunetti, Bruggen & Bonafede and project page here.

 Diffuse radio emission around a shock in the massive galaxy cluster MACS J0744.9+3927

In this work led by Amanda Wilber (Hamburger Sternwarte), we searched for diffuse radio emission in the merging cluster MACS J0744.9+3927 using LOFAR observations at 120-165 MHz. While we detected radio emission from a previously undetected AGN, no large-scale radio emission was found aroun the shock close to the center of MACS J0744.9+3927. This suggests that the weak shock (2.1) measured here is unefficient in accelerating electrons. The non-detection of a radio halo could be due to a flat spectrum to which our low frequency observations are not sensitive, suggesting that MACS J0744.9+3927 may be still in an early phase of the merger.

See MNRAS paper by Wilber, Brüggen [..] Wittor et al. 
The Team
Franco Vazza
Principal Investigator
Tenure-track researcher at the University of Bologna. Expert in cosmological simulations, non-thermal processes in large-scale structures.
See home page here.
Denis Wittor
Post Doctoral Fellow
Post-Doct at  University of Bologna (start 1st Jan 2018). Expert in cosmological simulations and particle acceleration in  galaxy clusters using simulations.
See home page here.
Paola Dominguez
PhD Student
PhD student at Universität Hamburg (from 1st November 2017). Her project is focused on using high-resolution simulation of galaxy clusters to study Faraday Rotation​​
Nicola Locatelli
PhD Student
PhD student at University of Bologna (start 1st Nov.2017). His project is focused on polarisation radio observations  to study Faraday Rotation in intracluster filaments.​
Marcus Brüggen
Professor of astrophysics at Universität Hamburg, expert in structure formation and particle acceleration in galaxy clusters.
See home page here.
Daniele Dallacasa
Professor of astronomy University of Bologna, expert in radio observations
See home page here
External (close!) collaborators
Annalisa Bonafede
Staff researcher at IRA-INAF, expert in radio observations of galaxy clusters and low-frequency radio astronomy. See home page​​​​​​​ here.
Claudio Gheller
Group leader at CSCS,  expert in supercomputing and  cosmological simulations. See home page​​​ here.
Stefan Hackstein
PhD student at Universität Hamburg, expert in the simulation of UHECRs.​

Dominique Eckert
Expert in X-ray observations of galaxy clusters and thermodynamics of the ICM medium. See home page​​​ here
Expert in astrophysical numerical simulations  and in the acceleration of cosmic rays from SN to the ICM​​​
Gianfranco Brunetti
Expert in turbulence, particle acceleration and non-thermal phenomena in galaxy clusters.
Thomas Jones
Matteo Angelinelli
Master student at University of Bologna, currently studying turbulence in simulated galaxy clusters.