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Aaronson Symposium:

Galactic Dynamics with Resolved Stars

The University of Arizona

Due to continued COVID restrictions the sympoisum has been post-poned until Spring 2023. 

Due to continued travel restrictions, or at least difficulties, and social distancing guidelines that are likely to extend into the fall, we have concluded that we will not be able to hold the type of meeting we were aiming to. We have therefore decided to postpone the meeting. To avoid a long gap between Aaronson events, we will name and invite a new Aaronson lecturer for spring '22, which then pushes back our planned conference to spring '23. We realize that this means that we are likely to need to revisit our set of topics and speakers, but we hope that we will be able to stay as close to the original plan as possible.



Abstract Information


Registration coming soon: 

Scientific Rationale:

On-going and upcoming astrometric, spectroscopic and photometric data sets will provide 6-D phase space information for resolved stars, mapping the kinematic structure of galaxies in the Local Group to unprecedented distances.  But what are trying to learn from precision kinematics and distances, and are we currently prepared to utilize these data sets?  

This conference will be organized around 3 key topics: 

1)  The secular evolution of galaxies: Physical insights (to be) learned from 6D phase space information of the major baryonic components (bulge, bar and disk) of Local Group galaxies. 

2) The distribution of dark matter in galaxies: Physical insights (to be) learned from 6D phase space of tracers of the dark matter halo of Local Group galaxies (globular clusters, satellites, streams and stars).  

3) The nature of dark matter: Physical insights (to be) learned from 6-D phase space information of dark matter dominated systems and systems affected by dark matter. 


Confirmed Speakers: Confirmed Panelists: Moderators:

Ana Bonaca

Jo Bovy

Anna-Christina Eilers

Denis Erkal 

Jesús Zavala Franco

Nitya Kallivayalil

Mariangela Lisanti

Lina Necib

Alex Drlica-Wagner

Adrian Price-Whelan

Keith Bechtol

Alis Deason

Wyn Evans

Marla Geha

Mike Boylan-Kolchin

Juna Kollmeier

Melissa Ness

Jorge Peñarrubia

Annika Peter

Laura Sales

Vasily Belokurov

James Bullock

Kathryn Johnston

Louis Strigari

Roeland van der Marel


















Scientific Organizing Committee:  Gurtina Besla (Chair), Dennis Zaritsky  (chair), Vasily Belokurov, Kathryn Johnston, Nitya Kallivayalil, Knut Olsen, Hans-Walter Rix, Louis Strigari

Important Dates:

  • Regular Registration:  June 1 - July 31, 2020
  • Late Registration:  August 1 - August 31, 2020


Conference Dates: 

  • Sunday, September 20, 2020 - Meet and Greet Evening Reception
  • Monday, September 21 - Symposium, Special Public Evening Lecture
  • Tuesday, September 22 - Symposium and banquet dinner
  • Wednesday, September 23 - Symposium ends at 12 noon


Aaronson Public Evening Lecture

  • Date: Monday, September 21, 2020 7:30 pm
  • Speaker: Andrea Ghez
  • Location:  Steward Observatory N210


Code of Conduct 

Please read this document. During registration you will be asked to acknowedge reading before completing the process. 


Marc Aaronson:

This is a special symposium in honor of Marc Aaronson, who was a postdoc at Steward Observatory starting in 1977 and an Associate Professor starting in 1983. His astronomical research focused on many of the most important problems of observational cosmology: the cosmic distance scale, the age of the Universe, the large-scale motion of matter, and the distribution of invisible mass in the Universe. Marc made important contributions to our understanding of stellar populations in the Large Magellanic Cloud. In recognition of his research achievements, Aaronson was awarded the George Van Biesbroeck Award by the University of Arizona in 1981, the Bart J. Bok Prize by Harvard University in 1983, and the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize by the American Astronomical Society in 1984.

Marc died in 1987, at the age of 36, in a freak accident while doing what he loved most, making astronomical observations. His passion for astronomy continues to serve as a lasting inspiration to his many colleagues, students and friends and serves as the inspiration for an award that recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. 

We now wish to enlarge the legacy of this award by complementing it with an affiliated symposium series. The series will aim to focus on a topic of interest of a recent award recipient and the work of junior scientists in the field who share Marc's passion for astronomy. 


Contact Information:

General Inquires:

  • Gurtina Besla, SOC Co-chair
  • Dennis Zaritsky, SOC Co-chair
  • Dan Stark, LOC Chair
  • Cathi Duncan, Symposium Coordinator,


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