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 Nottingam, 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, Submitted, 2020, MNRAS.
  • 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