|Submitter:||Shri Kulkarni (Caltech)|
|Description:|| That occasionally new sources ("Stella Nova") would pop up in the heavens was noted more than a thousand years ago. The earnest study of cosmic explosions began in earnest less than a hundred years ago. Over time astronomers have come to appreciate the central role of supernovae in synthesizing new elements (and making life as we know possible). |
The Palomar Transient Factory (PTF), an innovative 2-telescope system, was designed to explicitly to chart the transient sky with a particular focus on events which lie in the nova-supernova gap. PTF can find an extragalactic transient every 20 minutes and a Galactic (strong) variable every 10 minutes. The results so far: classification of 2000 supernovae, identification of an emerging class of ultra-luminous supernovae, the earliest discovery of a Ia supernovae, discovery of luminous red novae, the most comprehensive UV spectroscopy of Ia supernovae, discovery low energy budget supernovae, clarification of sub-classes of core collapse and thermo-nuclear explosions, mapping of the systematics of core collapse supernovae, identification of a trove of eclipsing binaries and the curious AM CVns.
Image: An areal view of the Palomar Observatory (California). The discovery engine is the 48-inch telescope (extreme left) and the photometric classification is done at the 60-inch telescope (extreme right). Spectral classification is undertaken at the 200-inch telescope (center). The very first synoptic survey undertaken with a wide field Schmidt telescope was F. Zwicky's 18-inch and is the small
dome to the right of the 200-inch.
|Copyright:||S. R. Kulkarni, Palomar Observatory|