NASA's great observatories begin deepest ever probe of the universe

Oct 24, 2013
These are NASA Hubble Space Telescope natural-color images of four target galaxy clusters that are part of an ambitious new observing program called The Frontier Fields. NASA's Great Observatories are teaming up to look deeper into the universe than ever before. With a boost from natural "zoom lenses" found in space, they should be able to uncover galaxies that are as much as 100 times fainter than what the Hubble, Spitzer, and Chandra space telescopes can typically see. The gravitational fields of the clusters brighten and magnify far-more-distant background galaxies that are so faint they would otherwise be unobservable. The foreground clusters range in distance from 3 billion to 5 billion light-years from Earth. Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz and M. Mountain (STScI)

(Phys.org) —NASA's Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra space telescopes are teaming up to look deeper into the universe than ever before. With a boost from natural "zoom lenses" found in space, they should be able to uncover galaxies that are as much as 100 times fainter than what these three great observatories typically can see.

In an ambitious collaborative program called The Frontier Fields, astronomers will make observations during the next three years peering at six massive clusters of , exploiting a natural phenomenon known as gravitational lensing, to learn not only what is inside the clusters but also what is beyond them. The clusters are among the most massive assemblages of matter known, and their gravitational fields can be used to brighten and magnify more distant galaxies so they can be observed.

"The Frontier Fields program is exactly what NASA's great observatories were designed to do; working together to unravel the mysteries of the Universe" said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "Each observatory collects images using different wavelengths of light with the result that we get a much deeper understanding of the underlying physics of these celestial objects."

The first object they will view is Abell 2744, commonly known as Pandora's Cluster. The giant galaxy cluster appears to be the result of a simultaneous pile-up of at least four separate, smaller galaxy clusters that took place over a span of 350 million years.

Astronomers anticipate these observations will reveal populations of galaxies that existed when the universe was only a few hundred million years old, but have not been seen before.

"The idea is to use nature's natural telescopes in combination with the great observatories to look much deeper than before and find the most distant and faint galaxies we can possibly see," said Jennifer Lotz, a principal investigator with the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md.

Data from the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes will be combined to measure the galaxies' distances and masses more accurately than either observatory could measure alone, demonstrating their synergy for such studies.

"We want to understand when and how the first stars and galaxies formed in the universe, and each great observatory gives us a different piece of the puzzle," said Peter Capak, the Spitzer principal investigator for the Frontier Fields program. "Hubble tells you which galaxies to look at and how many stars are being born in those systems. Spitzer tells you how old the galaxy is and how many stars have formed."

The Chandra X-ray Observatory also will peer deep into the star fields. It will image the clusters at X-ray wavelengths to help determine their mass and measure their gravitational lensing power, and identify background galaxies hosting supermassive black holes.

High-resolution Hubble data from the Frontier Fields program will be used to trace the distribution of within the six massive foreground clusters. Accounting for the bulk of the 's mass, dark matter is the underlying invisible scaffolding attached to galaxies.

Hubble and Spitzer have studied other deep fields with great success. The Frontier Fields researchers anticipate a challenge because the distortion and magnification caused by the phenomenon will make it difficult for them to understand the true properties of the background galaxies.

Explore further: Hubble views a scattering of spiral and elliptical galaxies

More information: www.stsci.edu/hst/campaigns/frontier-fields

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Benni
1.6 / 5 (13) Oct 24, 2013
It will be the James Webb telescope that will revolutionize our present view of the Universe. Hubble Deep Field & Extreme Deep Field data will be relegated to an obscure data bin when the JW begins operation in 2018 in an orbit a million miles from earth.

When comparing the Hubble Ultra Deep & the Hubble Extreme Deep field observations to one another within the same field, there are 75% more galaxies in view within the frame of the same exact region. Just imagine what it will be revealed when the JWST starts examining the same areas, there will be a revolution in Astronomy when it will be discovered this Universe is so much bigger than many have ever believed.
scottfos
1 / 5 (5) Oct 24, 2013
there will be a revolution in Astronomy when it will be discovered this Universe is so much bigger than many have ever believed.

waddya mean? elaborate please.
Benni
1 / 5 (11) Oct 24, 2013
there will be a revolution in Astronomy when it will be discovered this Universe is so much bigger than many have ever believed.

waddya mean? elaborate please.


The Universe is not infinite in size, if it were "entropy" could not be established to maintain the observable motion of the Universe, therefore it must of necessity be a "closed system", otherwise we'd be talking "perpetual motion". The laws of Thermodynamics require a state of entropy must exist or "work" (motion) cannot be accomplished.

Thus with the scientific application of entropy within a "closed system", and now we are suddenly faced with the prospect that trillions more galaxies exist than we ever thought possible, the previously estimated size of the closed system must change so as to make space for all this previously unaccounted for matter, in short, 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang isn't going to cut it.
rwinners
not rated yet Oct 25, 2013
So, a deeper than Deep Wide Field! Can't wait!
rwinners
not rated yet Oct 25, 2013
It will be the James Webb telescope that will revolutionize our present view of the Universe. Hubble Deep Field & Extreme Deep Field data will be relegated to an obscure data bin when the JW begins operation in 2018 in an orbit a million miles from earth.

When comparing the Hubble Ultra Deep & the Hubble Extreme Deep field observations to one another within the same field, there are 75% more galaxies in view within the frame of the same exact region. Just imagine what it will be revealed when the JWST starts examining the same areas, there will be a revolution in Astronomy when it will be discovered this Universe is so much bigger than many have ever believed.


IF.....

While I really REALLY hope that J Webb is successful and long lived, it pays to look with the tools available right now. 100 times dimmer? Light up my sky!
Fleetfoot
4 / 5 (2) Oct 28, 2013
Astronomers anticipate these observations will reveal populations of galaxies that existed when the universe was only a few hundred million years old, but have not been seen before.


And when we image those galaxies, the cranks will say "They didn't expect that, it proves the Big Bang model is wrong!"
Fleetfoot
5 / 5 (2) Oct 28, 2013
the previously estimated size of the closed system must change so as to make space for all this previously unaccounted for matter, in short, 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang isn't going to cut it.


JWST was intended to look out as far as z=25 but budegt cuts mean it now aims for z=15 (though they'll push it beyond that). The CMB is at z=1089 so we already see much farther than JWST will achieve.

Benni's comments suggest he has no idea how large the current estimated size is.

The current minimum estimate circumference of the whole universe (if it is closed) is at least 250 times larger than the co-moving distance to the CMB, and if common models of inflation are correct, that estimate goes up to at least 10^23 times the distance to the CMB.

Within that, there is a particle horizon which for us defines the limit of a closed system since nothing outside of the region can ever be within out past light cone, that defines our thermodynamic "closed system".
Fleetfoot
not rated yet Oct 28, 2013
Within that, there is a particle horizon ...


Just correcting a typo, that should read "event horizon".

.. which for us defines the limit of a closed system since nothing outside of the region can ever be within out past light cone, that defines our thermodynamic "closed system".


The above is true whether the universe is finite or infinite.
Benni
1 / 5 (11) Oct 28, 2013
the previously estimated size of the closed system must change so as to make space for all this previously unaccounted for matter, in short, 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang isn't going to cut it.


Benni's comments suggest he has no idea how large the current estimated size is.


And you think you do? You are hoping the CMB means what you think it does....a primordial gas cloud......just wait until better observational technology discovers galaxies on the other side of that cloud.

Fleetfoot
4.3 / 5 (3) Oct 28, 2013
the previously estimated size of the closed system must change so as to make space for all this previously unaccounted for matter, in short, 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang isn't going to cut it.


Benni's comments suggest he has no idea how large the current estimated size is.


And you think you do?


Obviously I do since I just told you what the estimates are.

You are hoping the CMB means what you think it does....a primordial gas cloud ..


ROFL, no Benni. Try learning what the model is before finding fault with it.
Benni
1 / 5 (10) Oct 28, 2013
You are hoping the CMB means what you think it does....a primordial gas cloud ..


ROFL, no Benni. Try learning what the model is before finding fault with it.


Right cricky ol' mate, learn the model for ENTROPY as found in engineering textbooks before trying to pass off a totally unprovable "cosmological model", one that you so ardently believe in because you've yet to study the time proven textbook model we've used to send men to the moon.
Zephir_fan
Oct 29, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Fleetfoot
not rated yet Oct 29, 2013
Right cricky ol' mate, learn the model for ENTROPY as found in engineering textbooks before ..


As I said, been there, done that, got an honours degree. How about you?