Tag Archives: chile

ESO Messenger


An article I just wrote with Steffen Mieske (ESO) about our Satellites and Streams in Santiago meeting earlier this year appeared today in the ESO Messenger. Go, check it out!

Satellites and Streams in Santiago 2015


What a week! The ESO workshop ‘Satellites and Streams in Santiago’ is over now, and I am still amazed by how flawless this meeting was. As announced here a while ago, I’ve been organizing this conference with Steffen Mieske (ESO) for the last few months. In the end we were 107 registered participants plus some 10 guests. The line-up was absolutely amazing, ESO Director General Tim de Zeeuw gave an opening address, and we heard keynote presentations from the who-is-who in the fields of satellites (Jorge Peñarrubia, Michelle Collins, Pavel Kroupa, Rodrigo Ibata, Vasily Belokurov, Gurtina Besla), streams (Steven Majewski, Amina Helmi, Aaron Romanowski) and the star-cluster/dwarf-galaxy interface (Oleg Gnedin, Jay Strader, Dougal Mackey, Michael Hilker, Anil Seth).  Continue reading Satellites and Streams in Santiago 2015

MODEST15 in Concepción

One of my favorite conference series is “Modeling and Observing Dense Stellar Systems” (MODEST). This year, MODEST15 took me to Concepción in the beautiful south of Chile. Flying into Santiago over the Andes is already a spectacle.


But once landed in the south, the beauty of the landscape is breathtaking, and a few hours drive brings you to the most amazing places in the Andes, full of outdoor activities and gorgeous views.  Continue reading MODEST15 in Concepción

Carne, Pisco and a Conference in Chile


With Steffen Mieske I’m currently organizing a conference called “Satellites and Streams in Santiago”, which will take place in April 2015 in Santiago de Chile. I’m very excited about this meeting, as the topic will be (as the name suggests) streams and satellites, and there hasn’t been a similar gathering of experts in these fields in more than a decade. With about 100 people, we will focus for one week on dwarf galaxies and globular clusters, which orbit around the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, as well as tidal streams, which these satellites produce while orbiting and dissolving in their host galaxy’s gravitational potential. Aim of the meeting is to bring the two communities together to create the big picture of how large galaxies like the Milky Way assemble mass over billions of years by eating smaller satellites and globular clusters, and how the gravitational fields of the host galaxies transform satellites with time.  Continue reading Carne, Pisco and a Conference in Chile



The grande finale of my Euro trip 2014 was the MODEST14 conference in Bad Honnef. MODEST, standing for Modeling and Observing Dense Stellar Systems, is a very specific conference series focussing on my prime field of study: stellar dynamics. The MODEST meetings are always my favorite get-togethers as you get to meet all your friends in this small community, and within a week you have a fresh and complete overview on the current state of the field. This specific edition of the conference series was organized by Sambaran Banerjee who works in the stellar dynamics group of Pavel Kroupa at the University of Bonn. Together with his scientific and local organizing committees he did an amazing job, turning the old mansion of the DFG Physikzentrum into a club house of a debating society. The conference picture above and many more were taken by Fabian Lüghausen. The next big MODEST meeting will be in Concepción, Chile, from March 2-6.

I was just reminded of the fact that today, exactly four years ago, at 3:34 a.m. Chile was hit by an 8.8 earthquake. That was quite a night! I’m glad to live on the earthquake-proof East Coast of the US now. I remember very well that during my welcome talk at ESO two weeks later, Santiago was hit by an aftershock of magnitude 6.6 and we all had to evacuate the building. After half an hour we were allowed to return, and I presumed my talk. 5 min into the talk another 6.5 aftershock hit and we had to leave the building again. Longest and most earthshaking talk I’ve ever delivered.