Chiara Spiniello


AstroFIt 2 – COFUND fellow since May 1, 2017

Project ended April 30, 2020

INAF Research Centre: Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte

Email: chiara.spiniello at

Curriculum vitae



Project title: DaLKiDS – Dark vs. Light in KiDS galaxies with Strong Lensing


The internal distribution of dark and luminous mass in Early-Type Galaxies (ETGs) is a deep and puzzling open issue in modern astrophysics but is also an essential requirement to fully comprehend the processes in hierarchical galaxy formation. Enormous effort has been devoted to study the relationship between baryons, that dominates astrophysical observables, and dark matter, that dominates most of the dynamics during galaxy formation. Despite that, the relative contribution of the two components and the knowledge of the processes that have driven their assembly in galaxies is still highly incomplete.

Mass measurements, that serve to establish the link between the observed galaxies and their dark haloes, can be obtained from internal kinematics of galaxies, from X-ray observations of hot gaseous haloes around galaxies, and from strong gravitational lensing. While the first two determinations require assumptions of steady-state dynamical equilibrium, gravitational lensing directly probes the projected mass distribution and is only gravity-dependent. This technique is therefore very powerful, but comes at a price: lensing measurements are rare and depend on suitable image configurations and mass distributions.

This project primarily aims at searching for new gravitational lenses in the ESO Kilo Degree Survey, with the goal of create the largest ground based catalog of strong lens ETGs, more extended in mass and redshift than current literature. A spectroscopically follow-up of the best lens candidates with state-of-the-art telescopes facilities is also planned to study luminous and dark matter distributions, internal structure stellar population and Initial Mass Function slope.