Cluster and Parallel Fields: Two for the Price of One

Frontier Fields

Hubble is doing double-duty as it peers into the distant universe to observe the Frontier Fields. While one of the telescope’s cameras looks at a massive cluster of galaxies, another camera will simultaneously view an adjacent patch of sky. This second region is called a “parallel field”—a seemingly sparse portion of sky that will provide a deep look into the early universe.

Many people are familiar with Hubble’s deep field images, where the telescope stared at what appeared to be relatively empty areas of the sky for long periods of time. Instead of a vast sea of blackness, what astronomers saw in these long exposures were thousands upon thousands of galaxies of all shapes and sizes.

But these deep fields covered just a small fraction of the area of the full moon on the sky. Do they really reflect what our universe looks like, or are these unusual regions? The…

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