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News Release 45 of 321

October 24, 2013 01:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2013-44

NASA's Great Observatories Begin Deepest Ever Probe of the Universe

October 24, 2013: 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. This ambitious collaborative program is called The Frontier Fields. Astronomers will spend the next three years peering at six massive clusters of galaxies. Researchers are interested not only as to what's inside the clusters, but also what's behind them. The gravitational fields of the clusters brighten and magnify distant background galaxies that are so faint they would otherwise be unobservable.

Despite several deep field surveys, astronomers realized that a lot is still to be learned about the distant universe. And, such knowledge will help in planning the observing strategy for the next-generation space observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope. Join several members of the Frontier Fields collaboration during the live Hubble Hangout event at 4:00pm (EDT) on Thursday, October 24 to discuss more on what's to come from these observations, how the clusters were chosen, and what we hope to learn from them. Visit: .

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz and M. Mountain (STScI)