The primary goal of my research is revealing and studying the Dark Universe and its predicted network of filaments that we call the Cosmic Web through direct imaging. Detecting cosmic gas in emission rather than in absorption allow us to unravel the three-dimensional morphology of cosmic structures and to address several fundamental questions:

  • How do galaxies form within the Cosmic Web? What are the physical conditions for the formation of stars within the early, potentially dark, proto-galaxies?
  • How do galaxies get their gas? What is the morphology and kinematics of the accreting gas and how does this affect the galaxy formation and evolution process?
  • What are the physical and morphological properties of the Cosmic Web? How does this compare to our understanding of cosmological structure formation in the Universe?
Throughout my research career, I have been developing the key components to answer these questions:
  • an innovative method for direct imaging of cosmic gas from z=2 to the Epoch of Reionization: using bright quasars as "flashlights" to illuminate with fluorescent Lyman-alpha emission the surrounding Cosmic Web and "dark" galaxies (Cantalupo et al. 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013);
  • state-of-the-art numerical models for cosmological radiative transfer, including RADAMESH (Cantalupo & Porciani 2011), based on Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR) techniques;
  • specifically designed, successful surveys with custom-built narrow-band filters for VLT, Keck, and Gemini (Cantalupo et al. 2012, 2014) and through integral field spectroscopy with MUSE.

Ly-alpha emission around the radio galaxy TNJ1338-1934. Based on MUSE commissioning data. 3D extraction and detection with CubExtractor (Cantalupo, in prep.), visualization: VisIt.

For more information on my current research activity you can have a look at the PDFs of my most recent presentations at international conferences:
the not-so-recent video of my presentation at the UCSC Galaxy Workshop in 2014 on youtube, or my publication list.
View Publication List