A school and workshop about gravitational lensing in massive galaxy clusters … from the 13th to 17th January 2014




Scheduled to start observations in October 2013, the Hubble Space Telescope Frontier Field initiative constitutes the largest observational project undertaken by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). By exploiting gravitational lensing, the bending of light by massive galaxy clusters, the Hubble Frontier Field program will explore the distant Universe to unprecedented limits. Six of the most massive cluster lenses known to date will each be observed with 140 orbits of HST, equivalent to almost 10 continuous days of observations per cluster, with the aim of detecting the most distant and faintest galaxies, thus enabling the study of the early stages of galaxy formation and evolution. Using galaxy clusters as cosmic telescopes, this project will help probe the early Universe. The completion of the observations of the first cluster will be in December 2013.

This workshop is timed to coincide with the arrival of the first dataset. It represents a great opportunity to start working on this high-quality set of data, and to introduce gravitational lensing by massive galaxy clusters to the South African science community.

This event will be organised in two main sessions:

  • Lensing School : Lectures and practicals providing an introduction to cluster lensing over the first two days
  • Lensing Workshop : Discussion of the first science results from the HST Frontier Fields including more technical talks and group projects for the remaining three days.

The HST Frontier Fields initiative is a remarkable program. Furthermore this workshop represents a unique opportunity to create new scientific collaborations, and to strengthen links between the South African cosmology community and the international gravitational lensing community. This workshop aims to train students in this important and growing field of observational cosmology. The introductory lectures and “hands on” sessions will be presented by international experts in the field.


If you are interested in attending the workshop, please fill in the Registration form.

We will have opportunities for contributed talks –  if you wish to speak at the workshop, please provide a title and abstract when filling in the registration form.

Funds for local particpants are now available. We will be able to fund up to 6 postgraduate students, and up to 4 postodocs or research/academic staff.

The conference fee for the 5 days is ZAR 1700 (directly payable to the hotel). We are working on raising funds to waive the fee, but it is not guaranteed at the moment. More details about this will come soon.

The deadline for registration is 6th December 2013.


  • Dr Mathilde Jauzac
  • Dr Matt Hilton
  • Prof. Kavilan Moodley
  • Prof. Priyamvada Natarajan
  • Prof. Jean-Paul Kneib
  • Lindile Danisa