About Event

Mon 31 Aug 2020
Fri 4 Sep 2020


This symposium is hosted by STScI and will be held as a fully virtual event.

Contact Information

Have questions? Please contact event organizers.
2020 Spring Symposium banner


The Space Telescope Science Institute is excited to host the 2020 STScI Spring Symposium, “The Local Group: Assembly and Evolution.” The Symposium will be held as a fully virtual meeting from August 31 - September 4, 2020. The symposium will include invited reviews, regular/short contributed talks, and posters selected from submissions.

Scientific Rationale

The hierarchical nature of cosmological structure formation can be studied most directly, and in greatest detail, in the very nearby Universe. The Local Group is filled with substructures, some bound and some in various stages of disruption. These objects carry the fossil record of the Local Group's assembly history and represent a link between large-scale structures and small-scale galaxy formation. The Local Group is therefore a unique and powerful laboratory for testing diverse aspects of galaxy formation and cosmological theories.

Thanks to both observational and theoretical advances, our understanding of the assembly and evolution of the Local Group has improved significantly in the last decade. Wide-field photometric/astrometric surveys such as Pan-STARRS, DES, SDSS, and Gaia, as well as targeted imaging and proper motions from HST, continue to provide unprecedented views of the stellar systems in the Local Group. Spectroscopic surveys, such as APOGEE, now allow chemical tagging of stars associated with distinct structural components. Facilities arising in the near future, such as JWST, WFIRST, and LSST, will drive another leap forward.  At the same time, computing resources have become powerful enough to simulate even the faintest known galaxies across the age of the Universe and to investigate observable imprints of the nature of dark matter in these objects.

In this symposium, we will bring together researchers studying the assembly and evolution of the Local Group and its components, so that we may review and discuss the current status of the field and future opportunities. Some of the key questions we will address throughout this meeting are:

  1. How did the Milky Way system assemble and form?
  2. How similar/different are the Milky Way and M31 systems?
  3. What mechanisms drive the formation and evolution of the Local Group and its constituent galaxies?
  4. What can we learn about the Local Group by studying other groups and clusters in the local Universe?


In response to the world-wide travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Scientific Organizing Committee and the Space Telescope Science Institute decided to move this symposium to an online-only virtual meeting with new meeting dates (August 31 – September 4, 2020) and a shorter daily schedule. 

Important Dates

July 31 Registration ends


Date Event Time
Monday, August 31, 2020 Symposium 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. EDT
Tuesday, September 1, 2020 Symposium 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. EDT
Wednesday, September 2, 2020 Symposium 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. EDT
Thursday, September 3, 2020 Symposium 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. EDT
Friday, September 4, 2020 Symposium 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. EDT


Please see the Symposium Agenda for a full breakdown of sessions. 

Event Materials

The Local Group promotional poster

August 31,  2020

Symposium Poster

1 MB

August 31,  2020

136 KB

August 31,  2020

1 MB