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WASHINGTON — A new set of breathtaking photos reveals a never-before-seen deep view of the universe.

Released as the first "Frontier Fields" view from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, the new images mark the deepest-ever observations of a cluster of galaxies. The photos center on Abell 2744, a group of several hundred galaxies 3.5 billion light-years away from Earth.

The images also capture background galaxies more than 12 billion light-years away, whose light has been magnified and brightened by the immense gravity of Abell 2744 in a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing, researchers said. [Celestial Photos: Hubble Space Telescope's Latest Cosmic Views]

"The Frontier Fields is combining the power of nature's telescopes — these massive clusters of galaxies — with Hubble to provide the intrinsically deepest yet view of the universe," Jennifer Lotz, a principal investigator with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, said here on Tuesday during a press conference at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Teams working with Hubble and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory — collectively known as the Great Observatories — are all working to create these Frontier Fields exposures to probe more deeply into the evolution and origins of galaxies and black holes. The new Hubble image revealed almost 3,000 background galaxies, with hundreds of other galaxies in the foreground.

— Miriam Kramer,

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