Frontier Fields: Locations on the Sky

The galaxies in Hubble’s Frontier Fields project are so far away that they cannot be seen with either your eyes or a backyard telescope. It takes a state-of-the-art telescope like Hubble, Spitzer, or Chandra to collect enough of the scant photons streaming in from the most distant galaxies to produce a scientifically valuable image. In fact, Hubble’s views of the Frontier Fields, coupled with the natural lensing power of the galaxy clusters, allow astronomers to potentially detect objects that are 40 billion – yes, billion – times fainter than your eyes can see.

The galaxies in the Frontier Fields are so far away that they appear absolutely tiny in the night sky, even to Hubble. Hubble has the exquisite ability to resolve tremendously small features on the sky and discern details that would otherwise be blurred beyond recognition. If prior deep field observations are any indication, Hubble will observe thousands of galaxies in an area approximately the size of a pin-prick in a piece of paper held up at arm’s length.

The 12 Frontier Fields are located at six positions in the sky. You may not be able to see the Frontier Fields galaxies, but you can still find the area of the sky where they are located using the graphic below.  

The location of the Frontier Fields on the sky, using Right Ascension and Declination coordinates.  The Milky Way in this coordinate system is shown as a wavy band of diffuse light across the sky.

The location of the Frontier Fields on the sky, using Right Ascension and Declination coordinates. The Frontier Fields are numbered in the order that Hubble plans to observe them over the three-year program. The names refer to the galaxy clusters targeted in each pointing. Each pointing also has an adjacent parallel field. A few of the previous Hubble deep-field observations are labeled as well – Hubble Deep Field North (HDF-N), Hubble Deep Field South (HDF-S), and the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF). The Milky Way in this coordinate system is shown as a wavy band of diffuse light across the sky.
SOURCES: Frontier Fields locations: STScI; All-sky star chart: J. Cornmell and
IAU

The map above uses a coordinate system familiar to astronomers. Right Ascension is similar to longitude in that it measures the position of an object east or west of a reference position. Right Ascension is measured in hours, from 0 to 24 hours, with the reference position set at 0 hours. Declination is similar to latitude. It measures the position of an object, in degrees from 0 to 90, north or south of a reference position. The reference position (0 degrees) for declination is the celestial equator, which is the projection of Earth’s equator onto the sky.  In this particular map we have truncated declination at 70 degrees north and south.

The Frontier Field’s site map (above) is a representation of the sky on a rectangular grid. When we view the sky from the surface of the Earth, it appears as the interior surface of a hemisphere, or dome — half of what people in ancient times referred to as the “celestial sphere” surrounding the Earth. Just as there are distortions when map-makers make a rectangular map of the spherical Earth, there are distortions in projecting the celestial sphere onto a rectangular grid. Constellations located near the northern and southern celestial poles (90 degrees north and south in declination) are represented on the map as spanning more of the sky than they actually do.

To help find the locations of the Frontier Fields, zoomed-in regions of the six pointings are shown below:

1) Abell 2744

Location of the Abell 2744 galaxy cluster field and its parallel field in the Sculptor constellation.SOURCES: Frontier Field location: STScI; Enlarged constellation map: International Astronomical Union (IAU)

Location of the Abell 2744 galaxy cluster field and its parallel field in the Sculptor constellation.
SOURCES: Frontier Field location: STScI; Enlarged constellation map: International Astronomical Union (IAU)

2) MACS J0416

Location of the MACS J0416 galaxy cluster field and its parallel field in the Eridanus constellation.SOURCES: Frontier Field location: STScI; Enlarged constellation map: International Astronomical Union (IAU)

Location of the MACS J0416 galaxy cluster field and its parallel field in the Eridanus constellation.
SOURCES: Frontier Field location: STScI; Enlarged constellation map: International Astronomical Union (IAU)

3) MACS J0717

Location of the MACS J0717 galaxy cluster field and its parallel field in the Eridanus constellation.SOURCES: Frontier Field location: STScI; Enlarged constellation map: International Astronomical Union (IAU)

Location of the MACS J0717 galaxy cluster field and its parallel field in the Auriga constellation.
SOURCES: Frontier Field location: STScI; Enlarged constellation map: International Astronomical Union (IAU)

4) MACS J1149

Location of the MACS J1149 galaxy cluster field and its parallel field in the Eridanus constellation.SOURCES: Frontier Field location: STScI; Enlarged constellation map: International Astronomical Union (IAU)

Location of the MACS J1149 galaxy cluster field and its parallel field in the Leo constellation.
SOURCES: Frontier Field location: STScI; Enlarged constellation map: International Astronomical Union (IAU)

5) Abell S1063

Location of the Abell S1063 galaxy cluster field and its parallel field in the Eridanus constellation.SOURCES: Frontier Field location: STScI; Enlarged constellation map: International Astronomical Union (IAU)

Location of the Abell S1063 galaxy cluster field and its parallel field in the Grus constellation.
SOURCES: Frontier Field location: STScI; Enlarged constellation map: International Astronomical Union (IAU)

6) Abell 370

Location of the Abell 370 galaxy cluster field and its parallel field in the Eridanus constellation.SOURCES: Frontier Field location: STScI; Enlarged constellation map: International Astronomical Union (IAU)

Location of the Abell 370 galaxy cluster field and its parallel field in the Cetus constellation.
SOURCES: Frontier Field location: STScI; Enlarged constellation map: International Astronomical Union (IAU)

For more tips and information about observing the night sky, including access to free monthly sky charts, visit the NASA Night Sky Network. For monthly highlights of interesting objects to observe in the night sky, visit Hubblesite’s Tonight’s Sky.

4 thoughts on “Frontier Fields: Locations on the Sky

  1. […] Het Frontier Fields programma werkt zo dat een half jaar later de twee velden opnieuw worden bekeken, maar dan andersom: WFC3 kijkt dan naar het parallelveld, ACS naar het clusterveld. Over drie jaar is het programma gereed en dan zijn we 840 omwentelingen van Hubble om de aarde verder en heeft ‘ie in totaal twee miljoen seconden de twaalf Frontier Fields bestudeerd. In de bovenste afbeelding met de locaties van de velden zie je nog drie andere velden aangegeven, die eerder door Hubble zijn bestudeerd: Hubble Deep Field North(HDF-N), Hubble Deep Field South (HDF-S) en het Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF). Hubble zit duidelijk niet stil. Bron: Frontier Fields. […]

  2. Martyn Whittaker

    I think nasa and aria 51 should get to gether and show the world that thay can get to mars in 2 week
    And fix the down rover
    And show us the dark side of the moon and all the bases
    Ill piolet the craft
    Show u how its done

  3. […] a map of the Frontier Fields on the sky, with respect to the constellations, see this previous post.  Note: The right ascension of the map in the previous post is flipped with respect to the map […]

  4. […] a map of the Frontier Fields on the sky, with respect to the constellations, see this previous post. Note: The right ascension of the map in the previous post is flipped with respect to the map below […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s