We are pleased to announce the Hubble Frontier Fields Focus Meeting August 3-5, 2015 during the IAU General Assembly, which will take place in Honnolulu, Hawaii, USA.

Main Themes

  • Properties of gravitationally lensed galaxies at high redshift
  • Properties of the galaxy population of the Hubble Frontier Fields (FF) clusters
  • Reionization of the early Universe
  • Mass distribution and internal dynamics of massive clusters
  • Modelling techniques based on strong and weak gravitational lensing
  • Cosmological constraints from FF studies
  • Ground- and spacebased follow-up studies of the FF
  • Transient sources in the FF
  • Significance of the FF for future studies with JWST and 30m-class telescopes

Scientific Rationale

In the course of the past few decades, gravitational lensing has proven to be an exceptionally powerful tool for studies of faint objects at the edge of the observable Universe, as well as for the characterisation of the mass distributions in lensing systems. Generating significant gravitational amplification over areas of several square arcmin, massive galaxy clusters in particular are natural telescopes that allow us to probe the distant universe to unprecedented depth. 

Recognising the enormous potential of the gravitational amplification provided by massive clusters and capitalising on the results of all-sky surveys designed specifically to find these rare systems, STScI and SSC have dedicated 840 orbits and up to 1000 hours, respectively, of Director's Discretionary Time on the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes (HST and SST) to extremely deep observations of six carefully selected massive clusters and "blank" parallel fields. The HST images obtained by the Frontier Fields (FF) initiative reach a limiting magnitude of 29 (AB) in each of six passbands covering the entire optical and NIR window (0.4-1.7 microns), complemented by 50-hour imaging with SST in each of two passbands at longer infrared wavelengths (3-5 microns).  

The primary science goal of the FF project is to probe  the population of high-redshift galaxies to luminosity limits that are currently unattainable without gravitational magnification; highly accurate mass maps of the lensing clusters are both a byproduct of the observation and a crucial prerequisite for their full scientific exploitation.  Additional research facilitated by the FF initiative includes topics as diverse as accelerated galaxy evolution in high-density environments and studies of transient sources in both the cluster and blank flanking fields.

This IAU Focus Meeting aims to provide a stage for observers, theorists, and modelers to present results from the FF project, discuss new lens modeling techniques, and prepare and evaluate observational strategies to further exploit the FF with both the James Webb Space Telescope and ground-based 30-m class telescopes.