Meet the Frontier Fields: MACS J0717.5+3745

This is the third in a series of posts introducing and providing essential facts about each of the Frontier Fields.

MACS J0717 has been observed by telescopes in many visible and invisible wavelengths of light. It is one of the most massive galaxy clusters known, and it is the largest known gravitational lens1. Of all of the galaxy clusters known and measured, MACS J0717 lenses the largest area of the sky.

The Massive Cluster Survey (MACS) contains a sample of more than 100 galaxy clusters, measured by the ROSAT telescope to be bright in high-energy X-ray light. The goals of the MACS survey are to categorize and better understand distant massive galaxy clusters. J0717 has the highest X-ray temperature in the MACS survey.

(Left) Locations of Hubble’s observations of the MACS J0717 galaxy cluster, bottom, and the nearby parallel field, top, plotted over a Digital Sky Survey (DSS) image. The blue boxes outline the regions of Hubble’s visible light observations, and the red boxes indicate areas of Hubble’s infrared light observations. The 1’ bar, read as one arcminute, corresponds to approximately 1/30 the apparent width of the full moon as seen from Earth. (Right) Archival Hubble image of the MACS J0717 galaxy cluster taken in visible light. Left Credit: Digitized Sky Survey (STScI/NASA) and Z. Levay (STScI). Right Credit: NASA, ESA, and H. Ebeling (University of Hawaii).

Left: The locations of Hubble’s observations of the MACS J0717 galaxy cluster (bottom) and the adjacent parallel field (top) are plotted over a Digitized Sky Survey (DSS) image. The blue boxes outline the regions of Hubble’s visible-light observations, and the red boxes indicate areas of Hubble’s infrared-light observations. A scale bar in the lower left corner of the image indicates the size of the image on the sky. The scale bar corresponds to approximately 1/30th the apparent width of the full moon as seen from Earth. Astronomers refer to this unit of measurement as one arcminute, denoted as 1′.
Right: Hubble’s view of the galaxy cluster is displayed using archival visible-light observations. Deeper Frontier Fields observations of MACS J0717 are planned for 2014 and 2015.
Left Credit: Digitized Sky Survey (STScI/NASA) and Z. Levay (STScI).
Right Credit: NASA, ESA, and H. Ebeling (University of Hawaii).

Estimated Dates of Observations: September-November 2014 and February-May 2015

The planned dates for Hubble observations of the Frontier Fields include observations approximately six months apart. This is the time it takes for the cameras on Hubble to swap positions so that both visible-light data and infrared-light data can be captured from the galaxy cluster field and the adjacent parallel field, as described in this post.

Galaxy Cluster Redshift: 0.545

Redshift measures the lengthening of a light wave from an object that is moving away from an observer. For example, when a galaxy is traveling away from Earth, its observed wavelength shifts toward the red end of the electromagnetic spectrum. The galaxy cluster’s cosmological redshift refers to a lengthening of a light wave caused by the expansion of the universe. Light waves emitted by a galaxy cluster stretch as they travel through the expanding universe. The greater the redshift, the farther the light has traveled to reach us.

Galaxy Cluster Distance: approximately 5 billion light-years

Galaxy Cluster Field Coordinates (R.A., Dec.): 07:17:34.0, +37:44:49.0

Parallel Field Coordinates (R.A., Dec.): 07:17:17.0, +37:49:47.3

Constellation: Auriga

Related Hubble News:

Looking for Hubble data used by scientists?

References to science journal articles:

1: CLASH: Complete Lensing Analysis of the Largest Cosmic Lens MACS J0717.5+3745 and Surrounding Structures

2 thoughts on “Meet the Frontier Fields: MACS J0717.5+3745

  1. hi, woooooooooooow
    very ………nice

  2. […] J0717’s lensing power will also be utilized by the Frontier Fields mission for the Hubble Space Telescope. It will image the area in both visible and near infrared […]

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