Matteo Cantiello | Stellar Physics

Scientific Publications

I have published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers in reputed international journals. You can find a complete list of my publications here. Here is a link to my Google Scholar page. Below you can find some highlights from recent published work. Some of my talks and presentations can be found in my speakerdeck. Also, here is a link to my curriculum vitae (PDF).


Featured on the cover of Nature

Our recent theoretical work on the stability and mass loss of luminous blue variables has been published in Nature, and we made the cover! Our radiation three-dimensional simulations of massive, radiation-dominated stars, show that helium opacity has an important role in triggering outbursts and setting the observed effective temperature of luminous blue variables during outbursts.  This finding represents an important step forward in understanding the life and death of the biggest stars in the universe. These massive stars, despite their small number, largely determine the evolution of galaxies through their stellar winds and supernova explosions. And when they die, they leave behind black holes. Here you can find a movie of the simulations.

“Outbursts of luminous blue variable stars from variations in the helium opacity” Nature 561, 498–501 (2018)

Internal stellar magnetic fields might be very common

Using data from NASA's Kepler mission and a new theory we just developed (see below), our team found that stars only slightly more massive than the Sun have internal magnetic fields up to 10 million times that of the Earth, with important implications for evolution and the ultimate fate of these objects. Thanks to the very large sample of stars we analyzed, we could determine that the signature of strong magnetic fields is present only in stars that possessed a convective core during their main sequence phase, suggesting the observed strong magnetic fields were generated by dynamo action. This result was published in Nature.

“A prevalence of dynamo-generated magnetic fields in the cores of intermediate-mass stars” Nature 529, 364–367 (2016)


Asteroseismology can reveal strong internal magnetic fields

Our theoretical work on using waves to detect strong internal magnetic fields in red giant stars has been published in Science. We show for the first time that it is possible to determine the presence of strong magnetic fields in the inner regions of an evolved star. This is done in the context of asteroseismology, a discipline that –similar to seismology– exploits the existence of waves propagating through an astronomical object to determine its inner properties. This is also analogous to a medical ultrasound, which uses sound waves to image otherwise invisible parts of the human body. In a star, a high magnetic field can cause sound waves to become trapped within the central regions, damping certain vibration modes. This suppression can help infer the core magnetic field for several red giants.

“Asteroseismology can reveal strong internal magnetic fields in red giant stars” Science (2015)