ITSO Science Symposium 2017


(Image is from the ITSO Australian Gemini Cosmic Poll held in 2015.)

May 16-18, 2017

Mt. Stromlo Observatory, Canberra



 Symposium group photo

Attendees at the 2017 ITSO Science Symposium. Image credit: Ryan Ridden-Harper (RSAA).


Symposium Objectives

The AAO's International Telescopes Support Office (ITSO) and Astronomy Australia Limited are pleased to announce the 2017 ITSO Science Symposium. Following the previous ITSO Science symposia in 2012 and 2015, this meeting will feature the research being conducted with the international telescopes supported by ITSO. The Symposium will feature invited and contributed talks from leading Australian users of the Gemini, Magellan, Blanco, and Keck telescopes and is open to everyone, not just current users. Students and early-career researchers in particular are encouraged to attend, and travel subsidies will be available. There will also be opportunities to discuss instrumentation, time allocation, and data reduction for these facilities. There will be no registration fee, and lunch, a symposium dinner, morning and afternoon teas will be provided.

The deadline for registration is Monday 1 May 2017. To enquire about a late registration, or make changes to an existing registration, please e-mail


We encourage anyone posting highlights and pictures from the Symposium to include the #ITSOaao tag.

Organising Committee

      • Stuart Ryder (AAO)
      • Caroline Foster (AAO)
      • Elaina Hyde (AAO)
      • Joao Bento (ANU)
      • Devika Kamath (Macquarie/AAO)

The Symposium is made possible by financial support from

 Please click here to download a booklet of the Symposium talk abstracts.

Clicking on the speaker's name will bring up their photo, while clicking on the talk title will allow you to watch their presentation via YouTube.


Tuesday 16 May 2017    
Time Speaker Institution Title
11:00  Registration opens
12:30  LUNCH  
   Session 1 (Chair: Joao Bento)
13:30  Matthew Colless
 ANU  Welcome
13:40  Stuart Ryder  AAO  ITSO Overview
14:00  Mita Brierley
 AAL  Australian National Access to 8m Optical Telescope Facilities
14:20  Chris Tinney  UNSW  Brown Dwarf Science with Magellan
14:40  Nikole Nielsen
 Swinburne  The Geometry and Kinematics of Circumgalactic Gas with Galaxy Orientation
15:00  Martin Asplund
 ANU  Are open clusters chemically homogeneous?
15:20  Stephanie Bernard  U. Melbourne  Keck spectroscopy of z ~ 7 galaxies: probing the physics of reionisation
15:40  AFTERNOON TEA    
16:10  Chris Curtin
 Swinburne  DECam detection and Keck Spectroscopy of Ongoing High Redshift Superluminous Supernovae
16:30  Jeff Cooke
 Swinburne  Resolving a 40 year-old mystery on the nature of gas clouds in the early Universe
16:50  Devika Kamath
 Macquarie/AAO  A Newly Discovered Binary Stellar Evolutionary Class: Dusty Post-RGB Stars
17:10  Matthew Colless ANU  MANIFEST destiny - why MOS and IFS instruments are needed on ELTs
17:30  END    
Wednesday 17 May 2017    
Time Speaker Institution Title
   Session 2 (Chair: David Yong)
09:30  Lisa Kewley  ANU  The chemical & star formation history with Keck
09:50  Igor Andreoni  Swinburne  The present and the future of the DWF program
10:10  Rebecca Allen
 Swinburne  The Size Evolution of Star-forming Galaxies to z~7 Using ZFOURGE
11:00  James Allison
 CASS  ASKAP and ITSO: Understanding feedback and fuelling radio galaxies
11:20  Tiantian Yuan
 ANU  The Formation of Spiral Arms at High-redshift through IFS Observations
11:40  Tho Duy Do
 ADFA  Silicates in the embedded YSOs and the ISM revealed by Mid-IR spectroscopy
12:00  Sarah Sweet
 Swinburne  The z=1 stellar mass - size relation with better-than-Hubble resolution from the Gemini multi-conjugate adaptive optics
12:20  Erik Kool  Macquarie  First results from Project SUNBIRD: Supernovae UNmasked By InfraRed Detection
12:40  Rob Wittenmyer  USQ  Super-Earth or mini-Neptune? Understanding the nature of planets discovered by the K2 mission
13:00  Symposium Photo    
13:05  LUNCH    
   Session 3 (Chair: Devika Kamath)
14:00  David Yong
 ANU  Chemical Abundances from Spinstars
14:20  Duncan Forbes
 Swinburne  The SLUGGS Survey
14:40  Anshu Gupta
 ANU  Origin of a cluster-scale gradient in the gas-phase ISM metallicity
15:00  Anna Marino  ANU  Multiple stellar populations in NGC6934
15:20  AFTERNOON TEA    
15:50  Steven Janowiecki
 ICRAR/UWA  Do HI-rich galaxies at z~0.2 have turbulent disks?
16:10  Carolina Salgado
 ANU  Investigating globular cluster abundance anomalies in SMC Intermediate-Age Star Clusters
16:30  Garry Foran  Swinburne  The Lyman-alpha Project: Exploring relationships between key spectroscopic features and galactic properties over cosmic time
16:50  Luca Casagrande  ANU  Investigating the age structure of the Milky Way disc
17:10  END    
19:00  Symposium Dinner    
Thursday 18 May 2017    
Time Speaker Institution Title
   Session 4 (Chair: Stuart Ryder)
09:30  Blair Conn  ANU  The true nature of newly discovered ultra-faint Milky Way satellites
09:50  Anna Zovaro  ANU  Breaking free: jets, gas and star formation in young, nearby radio galaxies
10:10  Keith Bannister  CASS  Optical constraints on Extreme Scattering Events
11:00  Uros Mestric
 Swinburne  Selection and characterization of Lyman Continuum Galaxies
11:20  Tiantian Yuan
 ANU  ZFIRE: spectroscopic survey of galaxies at z >2 in field and cluster environment
11:40  P. Frederic Robert
 Swinburne  Analyses of near-pristine gas clouds detected with Keck-HIRES
12:00  Dougal Mackey
 Mapping the Magellanic outskirts with DECam
12:20  Christina Baldwin  Macquarie  Early-Type Galaxy Stellar Populations in the Near-Infrared
12:40  Juan Madrid  CASS  The faintest galaxies
13:00  Mike Ireland  ANU  Young circumstellar environments at high angular resolution: The curious case of LkCa15
13:20  Stuart Ryder  AAO Symposium Summary
13:30  LUNCH    
14:30  END    

Last updated: 19 July 2017

ITSO 2017 Participants

First Name Surname Affiliation
Rebecca Allen Swinburne
James Allison CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science
Igor Andreoni Swinburne/AAO
Martin Asplund ANU
Christina Baldwin Macquarie University
Keith Bannister ATNF
Joao Bento Australian National University
Stephanie Bernard University of Melbourne
Mita Brierley Astronomy Australia Ltd
Luca Casagrande ANU
Matthew Colless ANU
Blair Conn RSAA
Gary Da Costa RSAA, ANU
Tho Duy Do University of New South Wales Canberra
Garry Foran Swinburne University of Technology
Duncan Forbes Swinburne
Caroline Foster Australian Astronomical Observatory
Karl Glazebrook SUT
Anshu Gupta Australian National University
Elaina Hyde AAO/ Western Sydney University
Michael Ireland Australian National University
Steven Janowiecki ICRAR/UWA
Helmut Jerjen ANU
Devika Kamath Macquarie University / AAO
Lisa Kewley ANU
Erik Kool Macquarie University / AAO
Dougal Mackey Australian National University
Juan Madrid CSIRO
Anna Marino Australian National University
Uros Mestric Swinburne University of Technology
Antonino Milone RSAA, ANU
Simon Murphy UNSW Canberra
Nikki Nielsen Swinburne
Adam Rains ANU
Paul Frederic Robert Swinburne University of Technology
Stuart Ryder AAO
Carolina Salgado ANU
Jeffrey Simpson Australian Astronomical Observatory
Sarah Sweet Swinburne
Chris Tinney UNSW Sydney
Alexander Wallace Australian National University
Rob Wittenmyer University of Southern Queensland
David Yong ANU
Tiantian Yuan ANU
Anna Zovaro The Australian National University

Symposium Location: The Reseach School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Duffield Lecture Theatre, Mt. Stromlo Observatory

How to Access the Mt. Stromlo Observatory
The Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics is located at the Mount Stromlo observatory site, 18 kilometres southwest of Canberra centre, on Cotter Road, Weston Creek.

For those speakers coming to the Symposium from outside Canberra, travel subsidies of up to $400 per person will be considered if requested at registration.

For directions to Mt. Stromlo Observatory see The Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics Directions page. The map from the Acton campus downtown near the Civic area up to Mt. Stromlo is below:

Accommodation in Canberra Civic Area

All attendees will need to make their own travel and accommodation bookings. Accomodation in the Civic area is recommended as it gives visitors access to the city centre. If you will need transport from the civic area to Mt. Stromlo daily make sure to indicate this on the registration form.

The tables below shows a selection of hotels sometimes used by guests of the RSAA Mt. Stromlo.

Cost per night
Check in/out times
Other Information

Canberra YHA

7 Akuna Street, Canberra, ACT 2601

Ph: +61-2-6248 9155


$120 per room per night for double or twin room.


Check in: 1pm

Check out: 10am


This is right on Civic, very close to restaurants and shops.

Greenleigh Motel

106 Cotter Road, Curtin 2605, ACT Australia

Ph: +61 02-6281 5881


Rooms around $120 per night per room but have multiple beds.


Check in: 2pm

Check out: 10am


10 minute drive from Stromlo and about 15 drive minute from Civic.

Quality Hotel Woden

Cnr Melrose Drive & Launceston St, Phillip, Canberra, ACT Australia

Ph: +61 02-6281 7733


Around $160 per night per room.


Check in: 2pm

Check out: 10am


About 15 minutes drive from both Civic and Stromlo.

Mercure Hotel

Corner of Ainslie and Limestone Avenue 2618 BRADDON, ACT Australia

Ph: +61 02-62430000


Around $150 per night per room.


Check in: 2pm

Check out: 11am


This hotel is a 15-20 minute walk from Civic and most restaurants.

Quest Apartments Canberra

Melbourne Building 28 West Row, Canberra City 2601 Australia

Ph: 1800 334 033


Around $180 per night per room.


Check in: 2pm

Check out: 10am


Quest is right in the middle of Civic, very convenient for shops and restaurants.

QT Canberra

1 London Circuit, Canberra ACT 2601 Australia

Ph: +61-2 6247 6244


Around $295 per night per room.


Check in: 2pm

Check out: 10am


QT Canberra is on London Circuit in Civic, near shops and restaurants.

Peppers Gallery Hotel

15 Edinburgh Avenue, Canberra ACT, 2601 Australia

Ph: 1300 987 6004


Around $300 per night per room.


Check in: 2pm

Check out: 11am


Peppers Gallery is near London Circuit in Civic, 10 minutes shops and restaurants.

Hotel Hotel

NewActon Nishi, 25 Edinburgh Ave Canberra, 2601 Australia

Ph: +61-2 6287 6287


Around $260 per night per room.


Check in: 2pm

Check out: 10am


Hotel Hotel is near London Circuit in Civic, 10 minutes shops and restaurants.

Prices above are inclusive of GST, per room per night, and are subject to change. Please call hotel to confirm costs.

For a list of hotels in the Canberra CBD, please check the wotif website.

The Symposium dinner will be held at Blu Ginger, an Indian restaurant in Civic (5 Genge St), from 7pm on Wed 17 May. Meal costs will be covered by ITSO, but drinks will be at participant's own expense.

ITSO Science Symposium Registration

Registration is now closed. If you would like to alter your registration details or need to cancel your registration, please email