Science with MAVIS 2021

This is a virtual meeting. Instructions will be sent in due time.
Marco Gullieuszik (INAF - OAPd)

MAVIS (MCAO Assisted Visible Imager and Spectrograph) is a forthcoming instrument for the ESO’s VLT AOF (Adaptive Optics Facility, UT4 Yepun) currently starting Phase B. 

It is made of two main parts: a Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) system, pushing AO into the visible on a large field of view and over a significant fraction of the sky; and its post focal instrumentation, featuring a 30"x30" imager, and an integral field spectrograph (3” or 6” square field, R~5,000-15,000), both covering the visible part of the spectrum (370-1000nm) at the diffraction limit of the VLT. More information can be  found on MAVIS blog page ( 

Due to its unique parameter space, MAVIS is foreseen to cover broad science cases, from solar system objects to high redshift galaxies, as highlighted in the current MAVIS Science Case (

This workshop aims at bringing together the scientific community and discussing the key science cases where MAVIS will have a strong impact due to its unparalleled capabilities, as well as identifying the areas where it will provide unique synergies with existing and forthcoming facilities such as ELTs and JWST. The workshop is an opportunity to engage the community and push forward the MAVIS project.

Format and Contributions

Given the current pandemic situation, the meeting will be fully online. To optimize the scientific outcome of the workshop and overcome limitations due to different time zones, the meeting will have pre-recorded contributions, available in advance, and live sessions mainly focused on discussion and interaction among participants.

As part of the registration, participants are strongly encouraged to provide a short description of science questions and topics they would like to address with MAVIS. The recorded talks will be informal, and can be up to 15 minutes in length. Shorter contributions are also welcomed. Live sessions will be held over a series of consecutive days, during an overlapping time window suitable for both east-coast Australia and Europe (7PM-10PM Australian Eastern Standard Time / 11AM-2PM Central European Summer Time).

The schedule is available here. To change timezone use the button at the top-right of the page.

We will discuss the following (non-exhaustive) list of topics:

  • Galaxies at high redshift

  • Evolution of galaxy structure

  • Interstellar medium of galaxies

  • Resolved stellar populations in galaxies

  • Intermediate Mass Black Holes

  • Supermassive Black Holes

  • Feedback mechanisms in galaxies

  • Star clusters across cosmic time

  • Stellar abundances

  • Circumstellar environments

  • Solar system bodies

  • Synergies with current and future facilities

For any questions, do not hesitate to contact: or

  • Adriano Fontana
  • Adriano Poci
  • Alessandra Migliorini
  • Alessandra Migliorini
  • Alessandro Marconi
  • Alessandro Pizzella
  • Alessia Moretti
  • Amirnezam Amiri
  • Andrea Comastri
  • Andrea Grazian
  • Andrew Battisti
  • Andrew Hopkins
  • Angel Lopez-Sanchez
  • Angela Bragaglia
  • Anna Ferre-Mateu
  • Anna McLeod
  • Anna Rita Gallazzi
  • Antonino Marasco
  • Benedetta Vulcani
  • Benoit Neichel
  • Bhavana Bhat
  • Bianca Maria Poggianti
  • Blessing Musiimenta
  • Bronwyn Reichardt Chu
  • Bruno Leibundgut
  • Carlo F. Manara
  • Carlotta Gruppioni
  • Cathryn Trott
  • Chiara Crociati
  • Chiara Selmi
  • Chiara Spiniello
  • Christian Schwab
  • Crescenzo Tortora
  • Dania Muñoz-Vergara
  • Daniela Bettoni
  • Deanne Fisher
  • Devika Kamath
  • Donatella Romano
  • Elena Dalla Bonta`
  • Eliana Palazzi
  • Eline Tolstoy
  • Elisa Portaluri
  • Elisabetta Maiorano
  • Emanuele Dalessandro
  • Emily Wisnioski
  • Emma Ryan-Weber
  • Enrichetta Iodice
  • Eros Vanzella
  • Eugenio Carretta
  • Fabrice Martins
  • Filippo Mannucci
  • Fiorangela La Forgia
  • Flavia Dell'Agli
  • Francesca Annibali
  • Francesco Belfiore
  • Francesco Calura
  • Francisco Prada
  • Francois Rigaut
  • Gayandhi De Silva
  • Giacomo Venturi
  • Gianluca Di Rico
  • Giovanni Cresci
  • Giulia Carlà
  • Giuseppe Bono
  • Glenn van de Ven
  • Harald Kuntschner
  • Holger Baumgardt
  • Jean-Claude Bouret
  • Jesse van de Sande
  • Johan RICHARD
  • John Mather
  • Juan Espejo
  • Juan Molina
  • Karl Glazebrook
  • Kateryna Andrych
  • Katia Biazzo
  • Kenneth Freeman
  • Koshy George
  • Kshitija Kelkar
  • Laura Magrini
  • Laura Pentericci
  • Lisa Kewley
  • Lowell Tacconi-Garman
  • Luca Cortese
  • Luca Costantin
  • Luca Izzo
  • luca pasquini
  • Macarena Garcia del Valle Espinosa
  • Maksym Mohorian
  • Marco Castellano
  • Marco Gullieuszik
  • Margherita Talia
  • Mario Llerena
  • Massimo Meneghetti
  • Matilde Mingozzi
  • Matteo Simioni
  • Matthew Colless
  • Michael Cowley
  • Michele Perna
  • Michele Trenti
  • Monica Tosi
  • Narae Hwang
  • Neven Tomicic
  • Niranjan Thatte
  • Olivier Beltramo-Martin
  • Ollie Pye
  • Paolo Saracco
  • Paolo Tozzi
  • Piero Rosati
  • Pierre Haguenauer
  • Purmortal(Zixian) Wang
  • Ricardo Amorín
  • Richard Anderson
  • Richard Davies
  • Richard de Grijs
  • Richard McDermid
  • Roy Slater Clement
  • Ruben Sanchez-Janssen
  • Russell Smith
  • Santi Cassisi
  • Sarah Martell
  • Scott Croom
  • Silvia Leanza
  • Simin Salarpour
  • Simon Ellis
  • Simone Antoniucci
  • Simone Di Filippo
  • Sofia Randich
  • Stefano Zibetti
  • Stephanie Monty
  • Stuart Ryder
  • T.S.Sachin Venkatesh
  • Trevor Mendel
  • Ulf Seemann
  • Uros Mestric
  • Valentina D'Orazi
  • Virginia Cuomo
  • Warrick Couch
    • 11:00 AM 2:15 PM
      The Birth, Life, and Death of Stars and Their Planets
      • 11:00 AM
        Welcome and plan for the meeting 5m
        Speaker: Richard McDermid (Macquarie University)
      • 11:05 AM
        MAVIS in a nutshell I 15m
        Speaker: Francois Rigaut (The Australian National University)
      • 11:20 AM
        MAVIS in a nutshell II 10m
        Speaker: Simon Ellis
      • 11:30 AM
        MAVIS in a nutshell Q&A 10m
      • 11:40 AM
        Science Case Overview - Day1 20m
        Speakers: Devika Kamath (Macquarie University), Dr Simone Antoniucci (INAF - OAR)
      • 12:00 PM
        Studies of protoplanetary disks and forming planets with MAVIS 20m

        The astonishing images of protoplanetary disks from ALMA and SPHERE show planet-induced structures. At the same time, directly imaged planets in disks (e.g., PDS70) prove that planets form early, and accrete material from the disk. So far, only the Halpha/Hbeta emission lines probing this process were observed at low spectral resolution with MUSE-NFM. MAVIS will give us access to higher spectral resolution information on these lines, allowing us to better interpret the observations.
        We also know that the majority of planets form close to massive stars, such as in the Orion Nebula Cluster. Studying these externally photoevaporated disks, proplyds, we can constrain the physical conditions of these systems. Initial investigations with MUSE-NFM are limited by the lack of access to key emission lines, some of which will be covered by MAVIS, and by the low spectral resolution, which does not fully allow us to access the kinematic information in the proplyds.
        I will present both subjects, and hint how MAVIS can allow us to make a leap forward in our understanding of planet formation.

        Speaker: Carlo Felice Manara (ESO - Garching)
      • 12:20 PM
        Comets characterization with MAVIS 20m

        Comets are among the most pristine objects of the Solar System that retain information of the primordial material present in the early phases of the Solar System formation.
        Spectroscopic investigation of emissions, which develop when heated by solar irradiation, is diagnostic of their surface composition, and reveals hints of the region where these comets formed. Important features due to chemical species and ions, like for example CN, C 2 , C 3 , N 2 + , CO + , can be identified in comets, when they are approaching the inner Solar System. In particular, N 2 + and CO + are sensitive to formation temperature of comets, and hence directly linked to the region in the Solar System when these comets formed.
        In this work, we explore the possibility of detecting the above listed emission lines, in the MAVIS spectral range, taking advantage of the performances and spectral coverage of the low resolution channels, that are suitable to this scientific purpose.
        The expected observations would be complementary to the future observations with the ESA Comet Interceptor, selected among the F-class missions, and currently scheduled for launch in 2029.

        Speaker: Alessandra Migliorini (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF))
      • 12:40 PM
        BREAK 15m
      • 12:55 PM
        Catching High Redshift Star Clusters in the act of Formation with Cosmic Telescopes and AO Facilities 20m

        Gravitational lensing acting as cosmic telescopes is allowing us to access high redshift galaxies at unprecedented small physical scales (tens of parsec) and faint luminosity, opening to the possibility of revealing the still elusive formation of globular clusters in the early Universe. Young stellar massive clusters are also the main sources of ionizing radiation and stellar feedback, likely carving ionized tunnels in the host galaxy through which the Lyman continuum (λ<912A) can escape into the intergalactic medium, making them also relevant for the reionization studies. Current analysis on lensed fields naturally anticipate what future extreme adaptive optics facilities (mounted on VLT and E-ELT) will do in blank fields, whilst the same facilities - like MAVIS - with relatively large sky coverage (>50%), PSF of a few tens of mas on imaging and equipped by IFU with 20-40 mas/spaxel with FoV wider than 3" x 3" targeting lensed sources will allow us to definitely probe parsec scales close to the reionization epoch: the stellar cluster formation efficiency of distant galaxies will be measured for the first time along cosmic epochs.

        Speaker: Eros Vanzella (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF))
      • 1:15 PM
        Synergies with ELT-HARMONI 20m

        HARMONI is the work-horse, first light, AO assisted, visible and near-infrared integral field spectrograph for ESO's Extremely Large Telescope, expected to start operations in 2027. At near-infrared wavelengths, HARMONI's AO systems will provide diffraction limited spectroscopy, with spatial resolution of 10 milli-arcseconds, and Strehl ratios of 30-50% with excellent sky coverage. Combined with the extreme sensitivity provided by the ELT's large collecting area, HARMONI will revolutionise observational astronomy in the coming decade. I will present a brief summary of HARMONI's capabilities and operating modes.
        MAVIS's integral field capability at visible wavelengths, with comparable spatial resolution, will nicely complement HARMONI, allowing exquisite spatial resolution with broad wavelength coverage. This will permit multi-wavelength studies, at fixed spatial resolution, of a variety of astrophysical targets, ranging from objects within our own Solar System, to the most distant high-redshift galaxies. I will explore some of these synergies, and present some results from HARMONI science simulations, that could be extended to cover MAVIS wavelengths.

        Speaker: Niranjan Thatte (University of Oxford)
      • 1:35 PM
        Panel Discussion 25m
        Speakers: Devika Kamath (Macquarie University), Simone Antoniucci (INAF - OAR)
    • 11:00 AM 2:10 PM
      Star clusters over cosmic time
      • 11:00 AM
        Science Case Overview - Day2 20m
        Speaker: Laura Magrini (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF))
      • 11:20 AM
        MAVIS and globular clusters 20m

        Stars in Galactic globular clusters exhibit anti-correlations in the light-element abundances, the most notorious being the Na-O abundance anti-correlation, in several peculiar cases, star-to-star metallicity and neutron-capture element variations. The currently held view is that globular clusters host multiple stellar populations, but how such systems formed and evolved remains a mystery. However studies to date are based on stellar samples from the outer regions of the clusters. The cores remain largely unexplored or limited to the tip of the red giant branch that suffer statistical limitations. Therefore the radial distribution of globular cluster stars has not been explored. With high spatial and spectral resolution, MAVIS presents the first novel opportunity to explore globular cluster cores, possibly the missing link to resolve this decades long mystery.

        Speaker: Gayandhi De Silva
      • 11:40 AM
        Chemodynamics of metal-poor starburst dwarf galaxies 20m

        Nearby metal-poor starburst dwarf galaxies present a unique opportunity to probe the physics of high-density star formation with a detail and sensitivity unmatched by any observation of the high-z Universe. These chemically unevolved galaxies also offer insight into the synthesis, dispersal, and ejection of metals in galaxies, from the inflows of minimally processed material to the metal-enriched outflows driven by intense star formation events. Here we present the first results from a chemodynamical study of the nearby starbusting dwarf CGCG-007. We combine HST/WFC3 imaging together with VLT/MUSE integral field spectroscopy and Magellan/MIKE echelle spectra to map the distribution of metals and uncover multiple kinematic components. We show that MAVIS, by enabling parsec-level IFU observations of nearby super-star clusters will revolutionise our understanding of the feedback duty cycle in starburst galaxies.

        Speaker: Macarena Garcia del Valle Espinosa (University of Edinburgh)
      • 12:00 PM
        Ram pressure stripping and star formation in low and intermediate redshift clusters with MAVIS 20m

        Environmental effects play a primary role in galaxy evolution and in particular in shaping the star formation history of galaxies in groups and even more so in clusters; Ram-pressure was proved to be among the most efficient ones in dense environments.
        MUSE is giving new and fundamental insights on this phenomenon in low to intermediate redshift (z~0.3-0.4) cluster galaxies, however available observations are strongly limited by the spatial resolutions of ~1kpc or worse.
        MAVIS will open a completely new window thanks to its unprecedented spatial resolution.
        I will present both the imaging and the spectroscopic improvements in this field that will be made possible by MAVIS, which will allow not only to infer the ram pressure stripping events but also to resolve star forming regions in the stripped gas tail up to z ∼ 1. These offer a unique opportunity to study the star formation process under extreme conditions, in the absence of an underlying disk and embedded within the hot intracluster medium.

        Speaker: Alessia Moretti (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF))
      • 12:20 PM
        BREAK 20m
      • 12:40 PM
        BlueMUSE: a large-field IFU in the Blue / UV 20m

        will introduce BlueMUSE, a blue-optimised, medium spectral resolution, panoramic integral field spectrograph proposed for the Very Large Telescope. The project is an evolution of the technology used on the very successful MUSE instrument, with a new and distinct science case enabled by its unique blue spectral coverage, together with a larger field of view and improved spectral resolution.
        BlueMUSE will complement future facilities for a variety of science cases, from comets to the high redshift Universe.
        I will present a few science cases which will in particular benefit from the strong synergies between BlueMUSE and the
        MAVIS instrument.

        Speaker: Johan RICHARD (CRAL)
      • 1:00 PM
        Panel Discussion 1h
        Speakers: Gayandhi De Silva, Laura Magrini (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF))
    • 11:00 AM 2:00 PM
      Resolving the contents of nearby galaxies
      • 11:00 AM
        Science Case Overview - Day3 20m
        Speaker: Richard McDermid (Macquarie University)
      • 11:20 AM
        Searching for massive black holes in globular clusters and ultra-compact dwarf galaxies with MAVIS 20m

        Intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) are black holes with masses of a few hundred to a few 10^5 solar masses. They could exist in dwarf galaxies and globular clusters if the known scaling relations for supermassive black holes can be extended towards lower black hole masses. In addition, supermassive black holes have also been found in ultra-compact dwarf galaxies, the bigger siblings of globular clusters, making the existence of IMBHs more likely. While no compelling evidence for an IMBH has been found so far,MAVIS, with its superior spatial resolution, might be able to produce the first detection. In my talk I will present the current limits for IMBHs in globular clusters and discuss the chances that MAVIS has for the detection of massive black holes in globular clusters and ultra-compact dwarf galaxies.

        Speaker: Holger Baumgardt (University of Queensland)
      • 11:40 AM
        Resolved stellar feedback in the nearby Universe 20m

        Feedback from massive stars plays a central role in shaping the evolution of galaxies. Conversely, different galactic environments play a central role in regulating the impact of massive stars. Yet, despite a solid qualitative understanding of feedback, our quantitative knowledge remains poor, and until recently, only a small number of star-forming regions had adequate observational information on both gas and stars needed for detailed feedback studies.
        In this talk I will present recent results of large IFU nearby galaxy surveys, showcasing how these can be used to simultaneously characterize the feedback-driven interstellar medium and individual feedback-driving stars up to Mpc distances, unlocking spatially resolved studies of orders of magnitude more star-forming regions than previously possible. I will then show how this enables the first empirical quantification of the interdependence between stellar feedback and the environments massive stars form in.
        More importantly, within the context of the above I will discuss how MAVIS will significantly advance our understanding of stellar feedback across nearby galaxies: the improved blue wavelength coverage, the vastly greater spatial resolution, and the much better spectral resolution will make MAVIS by far superior to other IFUs (e.g. MUSE, KCWI) not only to characterize massive stars, but also to perform unprecedented detailed studies of the feedback-driven gas.

        Speaker: Anna McLeod (Durham University)
      • 12:00 PM
        On the search and characterization of black holes in low-mass compact galaxies 20m

        With sizes typically below 2 kpc but stellar masses spanning the entire mass range (10$^5$-10$^{11}$M$_{sun}$), the realm of compact galaxies is populated by different families: ultra-compact dwarfs (UCDs), compact ellipticals (cEs) and compact massive galaxies. Although scarce and rare, we need to understand the nature of these tiny galaxies: what are the mechanisms that created them over such a wide mass range? Do they follow the same channels of formation and, therefore, do they follow the same scaling relations?

        In the last years major progress towards better understanding the stellar content and properties of UCDs and cEs has been made. However, one key property remains elusive due to the current instrumenation's limitations: the presence of an intermediate-mass or supermassive black hole at their centers. In this talk I will present a recent search for active black hole (AGN) activity in the largest compilation of low-mass compact galaxies to date. I will show that when we include these objects in the local scaling relations of galaxies and black hole mass, some long-standings issues like the possible existence of a flattening at the low-mass are better understood. I will also show how with MAVIS we will be able to populate that 'terra incognita' regime, opening a new era for the characterization of intermediate-mass black holes.

        Speaker: Anna Ferre-Mateu (Institut de Ciencies del Cosmos Universitat de Barcelona)
      • 12:20 PM
        MAVISIM 2.0: Simulating the Photometric Capabilities of MAVIS 20m

        As part of investigating the astrometric capabilities of MAVIS, we have developed the MAVIS Image Simulator (MAVISIM). MAVISIM was built with the intention to both, predict instrumental capabilities and assess the likelihood of achieving core science cases. In the first iteration of MAVISIM, we used a monochromatic Fourier-based PSF (Agapito et al., 2020) coupled with three realistic AO-induced errors to i) generate estimates of astrometric precision and, ii) show that MAVIS could recover the dynamical signature of an intermediate mass black hole in the centre of a globular cluster (Monty et al. submitted). In this talk I will describe plans for the second iteration of MAVISIM, using broadband, end-to-end PSFs generated in COMPASS (Cranney et al., 2020) to simulate realistic photometry. This version of MAVISIM will then be used to investigate the likelihood of recovering stellar population information from distant globular clusters (>100 kpc away). To extract photometry from our new MAVISIM images, we plan on investigating the use of both a classical technique (DAOPhot) and the emerging technique of PSF reconstruction (PSF-R).

        Speaker: Stephanie Monty (Australian National University)
      • 12:40 PM
        BREAK 20m
      • 1:00 PM
        Synergies with MICADO on the ELT 20m

        I will give an overview of MICADO's scientific capabilities and consider the broad potential for synergy with MAVIS.

        Speaker: Eline Tolstoy (Kapteyn, Groningen)
      • 1:20 PM
        Panel Discussion 40m
        Speakers: Marco Gullieuszik (INAF - OAPd), Richard McDermid (Macquarie University)
    • 11:00 AM 2:00 PM
      Emergence of the Hubble sequence
      • 11:00 AM
        Science Case Overview - Day4 20m
        Speaker: Trevor Mendel (Australian National University)
      • 11:20 AM
        Enabling cluster strong lensing with MAVIS 20m

        In recent years, the combination of dedicated HST programs on lensing massive clusters (CLASH, HFF) and extensive VLT spectroscopy (particularly with the MUSE integral-field spectrograph), has led to the effective exploitation of these systems as gravitational telescopes and accurate probes of the inner mass distribution of dark matter (DM) halos. In addition, these data together with time delay measurements have opened competitive cosmographic applications based on cluster strong lensing (measurement of the Hubble constant and other cosmological parameters). The key to this wide-range exploitation is the construction of high-precision strong-lensing models based on the secure identification of >~100 multiple images. We will show how MAVIS imaging and spectroscopic capabilities can give a decisive contribution to this endeavour in the years to come.

        Speaker: Piero Rosati (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF))
      • 11:40 AM
        Resolved Lyman-alpha to probe LyC escape at high redshift 20m

        Determining the amount of ionizing radiation from early galaxies is key to understanding the Epoch of Reionization. One of the most robust proxies for Lyman-continuum (LyC) emission is the peak separation of Lyman-alpha (Lya) emission. To achieve such measurements a resolution of R> 5000 is ideal. MAVIS will detect Lya to z>7.2 with the added bonus of AO resolving Lya blobs and compact LAEs at high redshift. MAVIS can be used to target bright galaxies that ionize their own surrounds as well as proximate LAEs that lie within the ionized bubble of a QSO, providing an environment for the full Lya profile to propagate without severe attenuation due to the IGM. The latter can be used to estimate the escape fraction of Lyman-continuum photons from lower luminosity galaxies that are the likely drivers of reionization.

        Speaker: Emma Ryan-Weber (Swinburne)
      • 12:00 PM
        BREAK 20m
      • 12:20 PM
        High spectral resolution observations in the disk settling epoch 20m

        Disk galaxies have changed dramatically over the past 12 Gyr, with disk velocity dispersions falling by an order of magnitude from ~100 km/s to 10 km/s. However the rate of this change is unconstrained at z~0.2-0.6 where models predict that star forming galaxies are settling into a more secular phase than the violent disk instability phase preceding it at z≥1. During this key epoch the main driver of turbulence in star-forming disks may be transitioning from gravity-driven to feedback-driven processes. I will present recent results (Wisnioski et al. in prep) of 10 disk galaxies z=0.2-0.4 with both high (R~8000) and low (R~2500) spectral resolution IFS and long-slit observations (MUSE, FLAMES, X-Shooter). This data set demonstrates the limitations of recovering velocity dispersions below the instrumental resolution and provides the first detailed measurement of disk dispersion at this epoch. Our limited sample will provide constraints for the driving mechanism of the turbulence in star-forming galaxies during the disk settling epoch. With MAVIS we will be able to more efficiently and systematically explore the relationship between SF, turbulence, and morphology, at <1kpc scale, with the combination of high spectral and spatial resolution IFS.

        Speaker: Emily Wisnioski (ANU)
      • 12:40 PM
        Panel Discussion 1h 20m
        Speakers: Giovanni Cresci (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF)), Trevor Mendel (Australian National University)