One of the most novel aspects of the Frontier Fields project is the innovative way in which the Hubble Space Telescope is being made more powerful — without adding a single piece of equipment or changing a single hardware component.
While Hubble itself isn’t altered physically in any way to allow us to peer farther than we ever have into the universe, these observations wouldn’t be possible without one crucial component: dark matter.
Frontier Fields is turbocharging Hubble by looking at the distant universe through gravitational lenses that boost the signal from the feeble light of remote galaxies, essentially making Hubble a more powerful telescope.
For the amateur astronomers out there, these gravity lenses are like adding a Barlow lens to the eyepiece of Hubble.
What creates these gravitational lenses?
Matter, and lots of it. Thanks to the theory of general relativity, we know that space-time is warped by stars, planets, galaxies, black holes — anything with mass. The light bends as it travels through this warped space-time.
This is exactly what ordinary lenses in a telescope do with light: they bend it. Hence the term “gravitational lens.”
In order to make a decent gravitational lens that will show you ...