Hubble Boldly Goes: The Frontier Fields Program

After considerable deliberations, the final selections are shown in Figure 3 and Table 2. All are strongly lensing, massive clusters, easily accessible with Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and Webb; all have previous Hubble and Chandra observations; four have been observed as part of the Hubble CLASH program. Four of the clusters are accessible by both ALMA and the telescopes on Mauna Kea; MACS0717.5+3745 is too far north for ALMA, and RXJ2248.7-4431, one of the strongest SZ sources detected by the South Pole Telescope, is too far south for observations from Mauna Kea.  All HFF clusters lie in locations that are at least moderately dark, some very dark.

The selected clusters already have sufficient Hubble observations in hand to allow the construction of magnification maps. Making such tools generally available is a priority and, to that end, Hubble issued a Request for Proposals in January of this year. Several responses were received, and contracts are being issued to a number of teams with the requirement that magnification maps for all six clusters are delivered prior to the start of Cycle 21 in October 2013.

All Hubble and Spitzer data taken for the HFF will have no proprietary time and will be available immediately to the community. The core implementation team will combine the Hubble observations to provide higher-level data products, which will be released within ~1 month of the final data acquisition at each epoch. In addition to the new Hubble and Spitzer observations, ancillary data from other observatories will be collected and made available to the community at a central website.