Scientific Rationale

We are in a golden age to investigate the formation and growth of supermassive black holes. The Event Horizon Telescope has taken the first image of the black hole shadow in M87, and more exciting results are expected before end 2020. Detailed kinematics of gas and stars from ALMA and VLT/MUSE now allow high precision black hole mass measurements and detailed studies of in- and outflows in galaxies, dual-AGN and merging systems. NuSTAR and other X-ray telescopes probe black hole accretion both in the local Universe and over cosmic history, providing unprecedented information about the cosmological origin of supermassive black holes. On the theoretical side, the feasibility of super-Eddington accretion has become more established, and more realistic formation mechanisms are being considered for the first massive black holes. As gravitational wave detections have been established via LIGO and VIRGO, future missions need to be planned to also probe supermassive black holes.

This conference will highlight the current and future science related to the formation and growth of supermassive black holes. These will be covered in the following sessions:

  • Formation mechanisms of supermassive black holes
  • Black hole mass determinations
  • The search for intermediate-mass black holes
  • Black hole growth in the local Universe
  • Accretion, jets and tidal disruption events close to the event horizon
  • Super-Eddington accretion
  • Supermassive black holes at z > 6
  • Black hole growth over cosmic history
  • Black hole binaries from LIGO to LISA
  • The nearest SMBHs - M87 and the MW

Scientific Organizing Committee

  • Patricia Arevalo, Universidad de Valparaiso, Chile
  • Franz Bauer, Pontificia Universidad Catolica, Chile
  • Stefano Bovino, Universidad de Concepcion, Chile
  • Monica Colpi, Universita degli studi Milano-Bicocca, Italy
  • Rodrigo Herrera-Camus, Universidad de Concepcion, Chile
  • Nathan Leigh, Universidad de Concepcion, Chile
  • Lucio Mayer, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Neil Nagar, Universidad de Concepcion, Chile
  • Priyamvada Natarajan, Princeton University, USA
  • Nadine Neumayer, Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy, Germany
  • Dominik Schleicher, Universidad de Concepcion, Chile
  • Ezequiel Treister, Pontificia Universidad Catolica, Chile

Local Organizing Committee

  • Stefano Bovino, Universidad de Concepcion, Chile
  • Rodrigo Herrera-Camus, Universidad de Concepcion, Chile
  • Nathan Leigh, Universidad de Concepcion, Chile
  • Neil Nagar, Universidad de Concepcion, Chile
  • Dominik Schleicher, Universidad de Concepcion, Chile
  • Cielo a Su Lado


The conference will be held at the Gran Hotel Pucón, with a maximum of 120 participants. Pucón (here some info) is a beautiful and popular tourist destination, where the total solar eclipse on December 14 2020 is expected to be visible. While the conference itself will finish on Saturday, December 12, participants have the possibility to extend their reservation for three nights in order to view the eclipse. In addition, Pucón itself is very interesting, due to the nearby Villarica volcano, which is an active volcano that is however constantly being monitored. It is possible to hike up to the lava-filled Villarica crater. The conference hotel is in the center of Pucón, and one block from the beautiful Villarica lake. It is an hours drive from the Huerquehue national park which offers very nice hikes, hot springs, and many other outdoor and recreational activities.

Note that Pucon is a quiet town which does not witness any violent social or political protests; arriving in Pucon requires a few hours of transit time at the Santiago airport.


1. Travel to Pucon

We recommend you arrive at the Araucania Airport in the city of Temuco (airport code ZCO) via Santiago, Chile (airport code SCL). Since the eclipse dates are very popular, we highly recommend you buy your air tickets as early as possible. We also recommend that you plan your departure on the 15th December or later (the road between the airport and conference venue is not a highway, and we expect long traffic delays in the hours after the eclipse on the 14th), and your arrival in Temuco on the 7th December.

2. Registration and Costs

The conference fee will be in between 350 and 400 US$ if paid by (non-Chilean) credit card, and 240.000 to 280.000 Chilean pesos if paid by bank transfer within Chile.

Hotel rooms are very expensive and hard to find in the days before and during the total solar eclipse. Fortunately, we have obtained block bookings at "low season" rates at the Hotel Enjoy Pucon: hotel rooms or apartments during the conference dates (7-12 December). Please register and book early to take advantage of these. During the conference (7-12 December; five nights), conference attendees can book either (a) a hotel room, with breakfast included, for a flat rate of 88,000 (eighty eight thousand) Chilean pesos per room per night (approximately 120 US$ per night at current exchange rates) independent of the type of room. For this flat rate per room, attendees can chose between rooms with one double bed, two single beds, three single beds, and four single beds. That is, if you share your room, then the cost to you would be significantly reduced. All hotel rooms will have to be disoccupied on the 12th December (i.e. the last day of the conference) before noon.

Hotel apartments The conference hotel has offered us block bookings of their Hotel Apartments. both during the conference dates (7-12 December; 27 apartments; 100 people total capacity) and for the eclipse dates (12-15 December; 23 apartments; 120 people maximum capacity) The apartments have a varying number of bedrooms per apartment, and a varying number of beds per room:

  • The smallest is a one bedroom apartment with capacity for 4 people
  • The largest takes more than 15 people in bedrooms of varying capacity, from two to four.

Some bedrooms (2 persons) have a private bathroom while others have a shared bathroom. The estimated cost is 30,000 Chilean pesos (about 45US$) per bed per night for the shared rooms, but will likely be a bit more per bed if you select a smaller, i.e. less shared, room. Breakfast is not included but can be booked for an extra cost of approximately US$10 per day. For logistic ease, you will be expected to pay the cost of all three nights for these apartments. Please use the registration form to indicate if you would like to stay in these apartments for the eclipse. We will confirm if we can accomodate you, and the type of (shared or private) room, before the deadline for paying the registration fee and hotel booking.

Lunches: we expect to have a 90 minute lunch break each day. While the hotel is in the center of Pucon, with many restaurants within a couple of blocks, Pucon is very popular in December, and wait times may be high. The average cost of a sit-down lunch in a nearby restaurant is 15 to 30 US$; a sandwich and drink would be closer to 7 US$. You may find it convenient to request a lunch package at the hotel. This will likely cost 15 to 25 US$; details will be provided soon. Please indicate your preference in the registration form.

Airport - Hotel transfer: Transfers between the airport and conference venue (90 minutes in the absence of heavy traffic) will be arranged by us, and paid by you (approximately 40,000 Chilean pesos or 60 US$ round trip), if you request this option in the registration form.

3. Planning for the Eclipse

The conference commences well before the eclipse and we do not expect any major issues on your arrival dates. However, we expect heavy traffic on the day of the eclipse and so highly recommend that you plan your departure on the 15th or later. On registration, we will provide you with a pair of eclipse viewing glasses. We will host several eclipse-related activities in Pucon during the conference and in the days leading up, and on, the day of the eclipse. If you would like to contribute to, or participate in, these (and especially if you speak spanish), please contact Pamela Henriquez pamehenri at

If you have further questions or doubts, please contact Pamela Henriquez at pamehenri at

Invited Speakers

  • Tonima Ananna - Yale University, USA
  • Eduardo Bañados - Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, GERMANY
  • Tiziana Di Matteo - Carnegie Mellon University, USA
  • Timothy Davis - Cardiff University, UK
  • Sheperd Doeleman - Harvard University, USA
  • Jenny Greene - Princeton University, USA
  • Kayhan Gultekin - University of Michigan, USA
  • Zoltan Haiman - Columbia University, USA
  • Ryan Hickox - Dartmouth College, USA
  • Yang-Fei Jiang - Flatiron Institute, USA
  • Mike Koss - Eureka Scientific, USA
  • Alessandro Lupi - Scuola Normale Superiore, ITALY
  • Chiara Mazzucchelli - ESO, Santiago, CHILE
  • Amy Reines - Montana State University, USA
  • Elena Rossi - Leiden University, NETHERLANDS
  • Nicholas Stone - The Racah Institute of Physics, ISRAEL
  • Scott Tremaine - Institute for Advanced Studies, USA
  • Rosa Valiante - Osservatorio Astronomico Roma, ITALY

Important dates

Registration closes 30 September 2020
Confirmation for contributions 31 October 2020
Recorded talks due 30 November 2020
Conference 07-11 December 2020

Eclipse 2020

A total solar eclipse is expected to occur in Pucon, Chile, on December 14 2020 during the Chilean summer. The eclipse will start at 11:41 and end at 13:05. The duration of the totality is expected to be between 13:03:19 and 13:04:23; the sun´s altitude will be 72 degrees at the maximum. Pucon is expected to be among the most popular destinations in Chile to view the eclipse, as it is very close to the center of the totality and is an overall nice and popular location. Our participants will have the possibility to extend their stay to the day of the eclipse or longer, though it is important to confirm your stay as early as possible (see "Important Dates") to maintain our block reservation. We note that from December 12 on, our block reservation consists of shared appartments, which consist of several rooms with several rooms with capacity of two to four beds, with a mix of private and shared bathrooms (see "Venue and Logistic"). The road from Pucon to Temuco Airport is not a highway, and we expect heavy traffic on this in the hours after the eclipse. We highly recommend that you plan your departure on the 15th or later. We hope that you will use the opportunity both to join our conference and to hopefully enjoy the solar eclipse at its totality!