Oct 232013

The Office of Public Outreach at STScI is advertising the Frontier Fields to the general public through several different mechanisms.

Hear the experts explain the Frontier Fields program during a Google Hangout tomorrow, Thursday, 24 October 2013 at 4 pm EDT.  Follow the link to participate:

Hubble Hangout – Frontier Fields

Just click the play button at 4 pm to watch.  You can also leave comments there.

You can also participate through twitter with the hashtag #FrontierFields.

And because that isn’t enough, we also now have a facebook page:


We have more ways than ever to share what we are learning about the distant universe.  Help us spread the word!

 Posted by at 3:08 pm
Oct 232013

Frontier Fields got our very first data last week and we already have a discovery!

Jennifer Lotz discovered a supernova in the ACS F814W images of MACSJ0717!  See the full announcement for details.

We will also be getting early data for MACSJ1149 and its parallel field on November 3 (schedule), to get some initial imaging of the previously unobserved parallel field and test out a new HST guide star.  The  new WFC3/IR imaging of MACSJ1149 also can be compared to old images to search for supernovae and other transients.

Congratulations!  This is a most auspicious start to the program!

 Posted by at 1:39 pm
Oct 212013

The first HST Frontier Fields data, of cluster MACS0717.5+3745, is now available in the MAST archive:


These few orbits have been pulled forward from the planned Cycle 22 observations to facilitate ancillary studies with ground-based spectroscopy and transient science.

The first data from Abell 2744 is expected just a few days from now.  Stay tuned by watching our FF status page:


We’re off and running!

 Posted by at 9:47 am
Oct 162013

Thanks to the combined powers of Hubble and gravitational lensing, the Frontier Fields will be the deepest images of the cosmos ever obtained.  But to fully understand these images, we need to account and correct for the observed gravitational lensing.

Five independent teams worked all summer on lensing maps for the six Frontier Fields clusters.  We have been ingesting these and now have the Abell 2744 lensing models ready for the community in time for the first observations October 25!

Users may download the models directly or use our web interface to calculate magnifications with uncertainties for any lensed galaxy they find given its RA, Dec, and redshift.  This will provide users with multiple magnification estimates derived independently from the five teams.

To whet your appetite, the Abell 2744 magnification maps for a lensed source at z = 9 are shown below.  Four of the models assume that light traces mass, while three do not.

The Frontier Fields lensing models for Abell 2744.

The Frontier Fields lensing models for Abell 2744.

These models are based on a common set of input data, including pre-Frontier-Fields archival HST imaging and a common set of lensed galaxies.  The models cover regions constrained by strongly lensed, multiply-imaged galaxies within the HST ACS fields-of-view of the cluster cores.

For complete information about the Frontier Fields lensing models, see http://archive.stsci.edu/prepds/frontier/lensmodels/.

We will be releasing the models for the remaining clusters in the coming weeks.

Are you ready to see the distant universe through nature’s telescopes?

 Posted by at 1:00 pm
Oct 112013

The Frontier Fields will get their first HST data next week!

The main HST observing campaign for the first Frontier FIelds cluster — Abell 2744 — will begin in two weeks.  In addition to 70 orbits worth of data on Abell 2744,  we will also obtain a small amount of preliminary imaging for the third and fourth clusters in the next few weeks.

For both MACSJ0717.5+3745  and MACSJ1149.5+2223,  we have moved forward several orbits to this year in order to obtain some HST imaging of the previously unobserved parallel fields.  This pre-imaging will faciliate ancillary studies with ground-based spectroscopy and transient science.

MACSJ0717.5+3745 will be observed with 2 orbits of ACS F814W on the cluster and WFC3/IR F160W on the parallel field on Oct. 17th.  MACSJ1149.5+2223 will be observed with 2 orbits of WFC3/IR F160W on the cluster and ACS F814W on the parallel field around Nov. 2-4.  The remainder of the HST observations for these clusters will be obtained in Cycle 22 (next year).

You have less that a week to get ready!  Here we go….

 Posted by at 5:19 pm