The Zwicky Transient Facility: First Light & Prospects

Prof. Shri Kulkarni (Caltech)
November 13, 2017 - 4:00pm

Abstract

The modern era of supernova research began with the seminal work by Baade & Zwicky at Mt. Wilson (1934). The modern era of time domain astronomy (TDA) began Zwicky's program at the Palomar 18-inch (P18) Schmidt-type telescope starting in 1936.  The Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) is a public-private project aimed at a comprehensive study of the dynamic optical sky. The centerpiece is a 47 sq degree 16-CCD mosaic imager at the Samuel Oschin 48-inch Palomar telescope (the successor to P18).  ZTF, starting in early 2018, will undertake two public surveys: a wide & shallow survey over three nights (aimed squaredly at SN studies) and a nightly g,R patrol along the Galactic equator (where most of the stars reside).  IPAC is the data center for ZTF.  With hard work and some luck, ZTF may prove to be an excellent per-cursor TDA program for the nation's flagship program, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope which is expected to go into routine operations in 2022.