Rachana Bhatawdekar

Research Fellow


Main Research Fields

My scientific interests lie in the formation and evolution of galaxies in the first billion years after the Big Bang. I am particularly interested in using the magnification effect caused by gravitational lensing to find and study the faintest and most distant galaxies responsible for the reionization of the Universe. I study these galaxies using imaging from the Hubble space telescope, Spitzer space telescope and the ground-based Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory. As a member of the James Webb Space Telescope Guaranteed Time Observations (JWST GTO) team I plan to probe galaxy evolution with galaxy stellar mass functions, UV luminosity functions, star formation rates and UV spectral slopes.


  • High redshift galaxies

  • First stars, First galaxies, Reionization

  • Galaxy formation and evolution

  • Mass functions, Luminosity functions, Star formation rates, Stellar masses, UV spectral slopes

  • Multiwavelength photometry catalogs, SED fitting, Photometric redshifts

  • Gravitational Lensing

Ongoing collaborations

  • Webb Medium Deep Fields (WMDF) JWST GTO program. (PI: Rogier Windhorst, Arizona State University, USA)
  • CEERS ERS program (PI: Steven Finkelstein, University of Texas at Austin, USA)
  • Christopher Conselice (University of Manchester, UK)



  • Rachana Bhatawdekar, Christopher Conselice, Berta Margalef-Bentabol, Kenneth Duncan. Evolution of the galaxy stellar mass functions and UV luminosity functions at z = 6−9 in the Hubble Frontier Fields, 2019, MNRAS.
  • Rachana Bhatawdekar, Christopher J. Conselice. UV Spectral-Slopes at z = 6 − 9 in the Hubble Frontier Fields: Lack of Evidence for Unusual or Pop III Stellar Populations, 2021, ApJ.
  • Adi Zitrin, Ana Acebron, Dan Coe, Patrick L. Kelly, Anton M. Koekemoer, Mario Nonino,Rogier A. Windhorst, Brenda Frye, Massimo Pascale, Tom Broadhurst, Seth H. Cohen,Jose M. Diego, Steven L. Finkelstein, Rolf A. Jansen, Rebecca L. Larson, Haojing Yan,Mehmet Alpaslan, Rachana Bhatawdekar, Christopher J. Conselice, Alex Griffiths, Louis-Gregory Strolger, J. Stuart B. Wyithe et al., A Strong-lensing Model for the WMDF JWST/GTOVery Rich Cluster A1489, 2020, APJ 
  • Christopher J. Conselice, Rachana Bhatawdekar, Antonella Palmese, William Hartley. LIGO/Virgo Sources from Merging Black Holes in Ultradwarf Galaxies, 2020, APJ.
  • Amy Whitney, Christopher J. Conselice, Rachana Bhatawdekar, Kenneth Duncan. Unbiased Differential Size Evolution and the Inside-out Growth of Galaxies in the Deep CANDELS GOODS Fields at 1<=z<=7, 2019, APJ.
  • Alex Griffiths, Christopher J. Conselice, Mehmet Alpaslan, Brenda L. Frye, Adi Zitrin, Jose M. Diego, Haojing Yan, Zhiyuan Ma, Robert Barone-Nugent, Rachana Bhatawdekar,Simon. P. Driver, Aaron S. G. Robotham, Rogier A. Windhorst, J. Stuart B. Wyithe et al., MUSE spectroscopy and deep observations of a unique compact JWST target, lensing cluster CLIO, 2018, MNRAS.

Project/mission at ESA