Cosmic Flows, Large-Scale Structure and Visualisation

Venue & Accommodation
Scientific Program
Partner Program

This international conference is part of a series of conferences that have been dedicated to the topic of Cosmic Flows over the last two decades: most recently 2012 in Queensland, Australia, 2013 in Marseille, France and 2016 in Quy Nhon, Vietnam.

Progress has been made on various fronts — such as on the reconstruction and presentation of flow fields from peculiar velocity catalogues and surveys like 2MTF and 6dFGRS, first results from the SKA Pathfinders and the TAIPAN survey, and the 3D-visualisation front where sophisticated tools are now being used to scientifically analyse data sets such as HI-data cubes, cosmological maps, simulations, by immersing yourself inside the data using Virtual Reality to interactively view and interrogate the data using varying parameter settings.

Our aims are to discuss and review the following topics, with a vision to future goals:

  • Distance determinations, redshift and peculiar velocity surveys
    • Large-scale structures in the nearby Universe
    • Surveys of the Zone of Avoidance
    • Local voids and superclusters
    • First results from new surveys (SKA Pathfinders, TAIPAN, etc.)
    • Peculiar velocity surveys and catalogues (FP, TF, SNe, kSZ, CosmicFlows, etc.)
    • Redshift space distortions in BAO Surveys (WiggleZ, BOSS, eBOSS, DESI, TAIPAN, Euclid, etc.)
    • Distance ladder and H
    • Promising future methods: transverse velocities  (GAIA, LSST, etc.)
  • Cosmic flow fields
    • Linear and non-linear velocity field reconstructions
    • Comparison of redshift data and flow fields
    • Bulk flows and velocity field models
  • Visualisation and Modelling (to take place at the Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome in Cape Town)
    • New immersive tools and software of 3D-visualisation
    • New approaches to modelling and fitting the peculiar velocity field
    • Natural and efficient multi-dimensional inspection using Virtual Reality

The conference will consist of plenary sessions, with in-depth review talks and contributed talks on specific specialised topics, as well as posters, including selected panel discussions.

Twitter hashtag: #COSFLOW2020

Invited Speakers

Miguel Aragon-Calvo, National Autonomous University of Mexico, MexicoRachael Beaton, Princeton University, USAChristopher Fluke, Swinburne University, AustraliaFrancisco-shu Kitaura, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain and Departamento de Astrofísica, Universidad de La Laguna, SpainNoam Libeskind, Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam, Germany and Institut de Physique Nucléaire de Lyon (IPNL), Université de Lyon, FranceYin-Zhe Ma, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South AfricaLucia Marchetti, University of Cape Town & University of the Western Cape, South AfricaElena Pierpaoli, University of Southern California, USAKhaled Said, RSSA, Australian National University, AustraliaPauline Zarrouk, Durham University, UK 

Scientific Organising Committee

Renée Kraan-Korteweg, University of Cape Town, South Africa – Chair
Maciej Bilicki, Center for Theoretical Physics, Polish Acad. of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
Matthew Colless, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Hélène Courtois, University of Lyon, France
Mike Hudson, University of Waterloo, Canada
Tom Jarrett, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Alice Pisani, Princeton University, USA
Ivy Wong, International Centre of Radio Astronomy Research, Australia

Local Organising Committee

Renée Kraan-Korteweg, University of Cape Town – Chair
Roslyn Daniels, University of Cape Town
Lucia Marchetti, University of Cape Town / University of the Western Cape
Carolina Ödman-Govender, Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy
Anja Schroeder, South African Astronomical Observatory


Should you have any questions, queries or comments you can send them through to the CosFlows Team at



PNG image
High-resolution PDF

Poster design: Carolina Ödman-Govender

Venue & Accommodation

2020 will see the bicentenary of the establishment, in 1820, of of the The Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope  the precursor to the South African Astronomical Observatory  (SAAO). This was the first permanent astronomical observatory in the southern hemisphere. Various events will be held throughout the year to mark this, with the highlight being a large international conference and astronomy festival in October 2020.

Moreover, the UCT Astronomy Department will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in this same year. Various research aspects in which the department has been active over the last 50 years will be highlighted in 2020 with special events and workshops. Given the long tradition over the existence of the UCT Astronomy Department in mapping the large-scale structure of galaxies and associated flow fields, we are particularly delighted to host the next conference in the series on ‘Cosmic Flows’ in the Western Cape. 


 STIAS (The Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study), Stellenbosch, South Africa

The conference will be held at STIAS, the Wallenberg Centre of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies, about 30 min drive from Cape Town International airport (CPT), and about 40 min drive from Cape Town.

Stellebosch is picturesque  with many cosy restaurants, guest houses and hotels. It is quite popular with tourists and entirely safe to wander around until late in the summer evenings. The town’s oak-shaded streets are lined with cafés, boutiques and art galleries. Cape Dutch architecture gives a sense of South Africa’s Dutch colonial history, as do the Village Museum’s period houses and gardens.Stellenbosch is located in South Africa’s Western Cape province, It is surrounded by the vineyards of the Cape Winelands and the mountainous nature reserves of Jonkershoek and Simonsberg.

The STIAS conference Centre is in easy walking distance to a range of hotels and B&Bs in Stellenbosch (see accommodation page).

How to get there from the airport

We recommend booking your shuttle with Ross Pinto <>. A single trip between the airport and Stellenbosch will cost R600.

Uber is popular in Cape Town and the cost will probably be slightly less.

Some of the accommodations offer airport shuttle services.

You can also catch a taxi from the airport, but in that case we recommend going to the official taxi counter at arrivals, rather than one of the touts.



Because Stellenbosch such a popular tourist destination,we recommend you book your accommodation early.

The following hotels and guest houses are within walking distance of STIAS – kindly check or Google for a general price range of the rooms:

Note:  Kindly ignore any phone-calls offering help with hotel bookings. This is part of a world-wide scam.



Registration is open between November 1, 2019 and January 15, 2020.

Abstract submission

Abstract submission is open between November 1, 2019 and December 7, 2019. Participants will be notified about acceptance of their contribution as talk or poster by January 6, 2020. Please note that an abstract submission does not constitute a registration.

Registration Fees*

 Full Fee – R 5 750.00Student Fee – R 3 500.00Partner Fee – R 2000.00 * Registration fees are inclusive of the following:

  • Student and Full Fees: Covers Sunday evening reception, Wednesday morning session at the Iziko Planetarium (incl lunch), afternoon excursion (including wine-tasting), Thursday conference dinner; as well as all lunches and coffee breaks at STIAS
  • Partner Fees: Covers Sunday evening reception, Wednesday morning visit to the Iziko Planetarium and/or Company Gardens (incl lunch), afternoon excursion (including wine-tasting), Thursday conference dinner.

Code of Conduct

The professional Code of Conduct outlined by the International Astronomical Union will be upheld throughout this conference. Participants of this workshop are required to comply with the following guidelines:

I. Behave professionally. Harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary comments or jokes are not appropriate. Harassment includes sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, sexual attention or innuendo, deliberate intimidation, stalking, and photography or recording of an individual without consent. It also includes offensive comments related to race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size or religion.

II. All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Sexual or sexist language and imagery is not appropriate.

III. Be considerate and respectful to others. Do not insult or put down other attendees. Critique ideas rather than individuals.

Attendees violating these guidelines may be asked to leave the event at the sole discretion of the organisers without a refund of any charge. Any participant who wishes to report a violation of this policy is asked to speak, in confidence, to any of the SOC/LOC members.

Scientific Program

Program and Abstract Booklet


Program and Abstract Booklet

Note: The Program and Abstract Booklet will be distributed to you on arrival as a hardcopy in A5-format.


Prof. Miguel Aragon UNAM, Mx
Dr. Rachael Beaton Princeton University
Dr. Maciej Bilicki Center for Theoretical Physics PAS
Dr. Sarah Blyth University of Cape Town
Ms. Sietske Bouma University of Potsdam
Mr. Florian Cabot École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Dr. Hao Chen University of Cape Town
Ms. Maria Chira A.U.Th. & N.O.A.
Prof. Matthew Colless Australian National University
Prof. Helene Courtois University of Lyon
Mr. Lawrence Dam University of Sydney
Ms. Alexandra Dupuy IP2I University of Lyon
Mr. Avishek Dusoye Cosmology and Gravity group, University of Cape Town
Dr. Ed Elson University of the Western Cape
Prof. Christopher Fluke Swinburne University of Technology
Mrs. Célia Gondol IPNL, Lyon 1 University
Dr. Alex Hall University of Edinburgh
Ms. Narges Hatamkhani University of Cape Town
Ms. Julia Healy University of Cape Town
Prof. Patricia Henning University of New Mexico
Dr. Carlos Hernandez-Monteagudo CEFCA
Prof. Yehuda Hoffman Hebrew University
Ms. Munira Hoosain University of Cape Town/South African Astronomical Observatory
Dr. Cullan Howlett University of Queensland
Prof. Mike Hudson Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics
Prof. Thomas Jarrett University of Cape Town
Dr. Gyula I. G. Józsa SARAO
Prof. Nick Kaiser ENS Physics, Paris
Prof. Neal Katz University of Massachusetts
Dr. Arman Khalatyan Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP)
Prof. Renée C. Kraan-Korteweg University of Cape Town
Dr. Ulrike Kuchner University of Nottingham
Mr. Joseph Kuruvilla Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale
Prof. Ofer Lahav University College London
Dr. Julien Lambert Planétarium de Vaulx-en-Velin / IP2I
Mr. Trystan Lambert University of Cape Town
Dr. Julien Larena UCT
Mr. Louis Legrand Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale
Mr. Jérémy Lezmy University of Lyon 1
Dr. Yi-Chao Li University of the Western Cape
Dr. Noam Libeskind AIP Potsdam / I2PI Lyon
Dr. Michelle Lochner AIMS/ SARAO
Dr. Omar López-Cruz INAOE
Dr. John Lucey Durham Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy
Prof. Yin-Zhe Ma University of KwaZulu-Natal
Prof. Lucas Macri Texas A&M University
Mr. Nazir Makda University of Cape Town
Mr. Harris yao fortune Marc University of Western Cape
Dr. Lucia Marchetti University of Cape Town / University of the Western Cape
Prof. Jeremy Mould Swinburne University
Ms. Wanga Mulaudzi University of Cape Town
Dr. Mark Neyrinck University of the Basque Country
Dr. Sourabh Paul University of the Western Cape
Ms. Nikki Peceur UCT
Prof. Elena Pierpaoli University of Southern California
Prof. Manolis Plionis National Observatory of Athens & Physics Dept. Aristotle Univ. of Thessaloniki
Ms. Sambatriniaina Hagiriche Aycha Rajohnson University of Cape Town
Dr. Mpati Ramatsoku Rhodes University/INAF-OACa
Dr. Khaled Said Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics – ANU
Dr. Christoph Saulder Korea Institute for Advanced Study
Dr. Anja Schröder SAAO
Prof. Tom Shanks Durham University
Dr. Rosalind Skelton South African Astronomical Observatory
Prof. Lister Staveley-Smith ICRAR / University of Western Australia
Ms. Nadia Steyn University of Cape Town
Dr. Brent Tully University of Hawaii
Mr. Ryan Turner Swinburne University of Technology
Prof. Thijs van der Hulst Kapteyn Astronomical Institute
Dr. Wim van Driel Paris Observatory
Prof. Marc Verheijen Kapteyn Institute
Dr. O. Ivy Wong CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science
Ms. Pauline Zarrouk Institute for Computational Cosmology, Durham University

Partner Program

Partner Program

We have selected two programmes for partners: a full-day excursion on Tuesday, February 19 and a three-hour excursion on Wednesday morning, February 20 while the conference delegates are at the Cape Town Planetarium for scientific talks. The programme highlights community experiences that are off the beaten track and highly recommended. You will be accompanied by certified tour guides and Peter Kraan, husband of Renee Kraan-Korteweg, will join on both tours. Please sign up with Peter as early as possible, latest by Monday, February 18 by sending an email to Please direct any queries about these excursions or any other sightseeing questions to Peter as well.

Tuesday, February 18: Khayelitsha Experience

This will be a memorable experience and a way to meet the locals and learn about their culture in a responsible and sustainable way. We head from Stellenbosch to Khayelitsha, the largest township in the Western Cape and the second largest (and fastest-growing) in South Africa. It is almost exclusively inhabited by people of the Xhosa tribe. Our first stop is at Siki’s Kofee Kafe, one of the first coffee shops in the “hood” and test his own blend while listening to his story. Afterwards, we enjoy a walk and learn about local culture, creative projects and meet local entrepreneurs like the Spinach King. We have the opportunity to leave an impact in the community by either painting an inspirational mural or creating a home garden. At lunchtime, we enjoy a traditional meal with a family and share our stories. After lunch, we see a local cultural choir dance group perform and join in if we wish.

The tour costs R1650 pp payable before the tour and includes shuttle to/from Khayelitsha, coffee, lunch,  water, entrance fees at the cultural project, gardening and painting materials.

Pick-up at STIAS at 9 am, drop-off at STIAS at about 4 pm.

Wednesday, February 19: Cape Town City Centre

District Six, Company Gardens, Woodstock, Bo Kaap)

This morning we take you through some historical and cultural communities of the Cape Town City Centre.  Starting at the Planetarium, we first stop at District Six Museum where you will meet locals that share their story of the forcible removals during Apartheid and see the visual images of that time. We drive into the area, still empty, where the removals took place. After that, we head to nearby Woodstock which has become one of the creative hubs of Cape Town and experience how gentrification is affecting the community while enjoying good coffee from Rosetta Roastery. We take a walk through the area and admire the street art. We then take a short drive into Bo Kaap and learn about the Cape Malay history and their colourful houses. After Bo Kaap, we enjoy a beautiful walk through the Company Gardens, one of the first VOC gardens to produce fruits and vegetables to supply the ships rounding the Cape. Today it is a public space where locals go to enjoy the beauty of the garden, the adjoining museums and a good place for photography. The walk ends at the Planetarium in time for lunch and the conference excursion after lunch.

The cost of the tour is R700 pp payable before the tour and it includes shuttle plus entrance fees at District Six Museum.

Pick-up at the Planetarium at 9 am, drop-off at the Planetarium at about 12.

Safety and other practical matters

Safety is our first concern and we advise you to use the same common-sense that you would in any other areas of the world. Avoid flashy jewellery and watches. Bring some cash for small gifts and souvenirs and feel free to take a camera. Locals rarely mind being photographed but if in doubt, ask. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, as well as sunscreen and a hat. For any questions and concerns, email Peter at

Sutherland trip 22/23 Feb

A visit to the telescopes at Sutherland on the weekend after the workshop has been arranged. Those who have signed-up will have received further information. If you are still keen to join the excursion, please urgently send an email to Ms Roslyn Daniels (

The costs are  approximately R2000.– per person including overnight accommodation in the Sutherland hotel and dinner in the town. Transport will be by minibus or bus and will take about 5.5 hours (it is a beautiful scenic trip on excellent roads). On the way to Sutherland a stop is planned in the picturesque, historic little place of Matjiesfontein where you can walk around, visit to the museum and get lunch (at your own expense). There will be a daytime tour of SALT (which is scheduled to be on engineering stand-down at the time) and a visit to the Las Cumbres Observatory, MeerLICHT and other small telescopes on the plateau. Return to Cape Town will be to arrive at approximately 17:00 on the Sunday, On the return trip, a stop can be arranged at the small but lovely Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden, which also offers lunch option (at own cost). 

Depending on the requirements of the party it may be possible to drop some people at the airport.