Probing the z 6 universe with the first hubble frontier fields cluster A2744

Hakim Atek, Johan Richard, Jean Paul Kneib, Benjamin Clement, Eiichi Egami, Harald Ebeling, Mathilde Jauzac, Eric Jullo, Nicolas Laporte, Marceau Limousin, Priyamvada Natarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The Hubble Frontier Fields program combines the capabilities of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) with the gravitational lensing of massive galaxy clusters to probe the distant universe to an unprecedented depth. Here, we present the results of the first combined HST and Spitzer observations of the cluster A-2744. We combine the full near-infrared data with ancillary optical images to search for gravitationally lensed high-redshift (z ≳ 6) galaxies. We report the detection of 15 I 814dropout candidates at z 6-7 and one Y 105 dropout at z 8 in a total survey area of 1.43 arcmin2 in the source plane. The predictions of our lens model also allow us to identify five multiply imaged systems lying at redshifts between z 6 and z 8. Thanks to constraints from the mass distribution in the cluster, we were able to estimate the effective survey volume corrected for completeness and magnification effects. This was in turn used to estimate the rest-frame ultraviolet luminosity function (LF) at z 6-8. Our LF results are generally in agreement with the most recent blank field estimates, confirming the feasibility of surveys through lensing clusters. Although based on a shallower observations than what will be achieved in the final data set including the full Advanced Camera for Survey observations, the LF presented here goes down to M UV 18.5, corresponding to 0.2L at z 7 with one identified object at M UV 15 thanks to the highly magnified survey areas. This early study forecasts the power of using massive galaxy clusters as cosmic telescopes and its complementarity to blank fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number60
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2014


  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • gravitational lensing: strong
  • surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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