Law, Nicholas M. and Kulkarni, Shrinivas R. and Dekany, Richard R. and Ofek, Eran O. and Quimby, Robert M. and Nugent, Peter E. and Surace, Jason and Grillmair, Carl C. and Bloom, Joshua S. and Kasliwal, Mansi M. and Bildsten, Lars and Brown, Tim and Cenko, Bradley and Ciardi, David and Croner, Ernest and Djorgovski, S. George and van Eyken, Julian and Filippenko, Alexei V. and Fox, Derek B. and Gal-Yam, Avishay and Hale, David and Haman, Nouhad and Helou, George and Henning, John and Howell, D. Andrew and Jacobsen, Janet and Laher, Russ and Mattingly, Sean and McKenna, Dan and Pickles, Andrew and Poznanski, Dovi and Rahmer, Gustavo and Rau, Arne and Rosing, Wayne and Shara, Michael and Smith, Roger and Starr, Dan and Sullivan, Mark and Velur, Viswa and Walters, Richard and Zolkower, Jeff (2009) The Palomar Transient Factory: System Overview, Performance, and First Results. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 121 (886). pp. 1395-1408. ISSN 0004-6280 http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20100108-092743274
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The Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) is a fully-automated, wide-field survey aimed at a systematic exploration of the optical transient sky. The transient survey is performed using a new 8.1 square degree camera installed on the 48 inch Samuel Oschin telescope at Palomar Observatory; colors and light curves for detected transients are obtained with the automated Palomar 60 inch telescope. PTF uses 80% of the 1.2 m and 50% of the 1.5 m telescope time. With an exposure of 60 s the survey reaches a depth of m_(g′) ≈ 21.3 and m_R ≈ 20.6 (5σ, median seeing). Four major experiments are planned for the five-year project: (1) a 5 day cadence supernova search; (2) a rapid transient search with cadences between 90 s and 1 day; (3) a search for eclipsing binaries and transiting planets in Orion; and (4) a 3π sr deep H-alpha survey. PTF provides automatic, real-time transient classification and follow-up, as well as a database including every source detected in each frame. This paper summarizes the PTF project, including several months of on-sky performance tests of the new survey camera, the observing plans, and the data reduction strategy. We conclude by detailing the first 51 PTF optical transient detections, found in commissioning data.
|Additional Information:||© 2010 University of Chicago Press. Received 2009 June 30; accepted 2009 September 29; published 2009 November 12. This paper is based on observations obtained with the Samuel Oschin Telescope and the 60 inch Telescope at the Palomar Observatory as part of the Palomar Transient Factory project, a scientific collaboration between the California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Las Cumbres Observatory, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, the University of Oxford, and the Weizmann Institute of Science. S. R. K. and his group were partially supported by the NSF grant AST-0507734. J. S. B. and his group were partially supported by a Hellman Family Grant, a Sloan Foundation Fellowship, NSF/DDDAS-TNRP grant CNS-0540352, and a continuing grant from DOE/SciDAC. T. B., A. P., W. R. and D. A. H. are supported by the TABASGO foundation and the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network. The Weizmann Institute PTF partnership is supported by an ISF equipment grant to A. G. A. G.’s activity is further supported by a Marie Curie IRG grant from the EU, and by the Minerva Foundation, Benoziyo Center for Astrophysics, a research grant from Peter and Patricia Gruber Awards, and the William Z. and Eda Bess Novick New Scientists Fund at the Weizmann Institute. E. O. O. acknowledges partial support from NASA through grants HST-GO-11104.01-A; NNX08AM04G; 07-GLAST1-0023; and HST-AR-11766.01-A. A. V. F. and his group are grateful for funding from NSF grant AST–0607485, DOE/SciDAC grant DE-FC02-06ER41453, DOE grant DEFG02- 08ER41563, the TABASGO Foundation, Gary and Cynthia Bengier, and the Sylvia and Jim Katzman Foundation. S. G. D. and A. A. M. were supported in part by NSF grants AST-0407448 and CNS-0540369, and also by the Ajax Foundation. The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, which is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02- 05CH11231, has provided resources for this project by supporting staff and providing computational resources and data storage. A. V. F. and his group are grateful for funding from NSF grant AST–0607485, DOE/SciDAC grant DE-FC02- 06ER41453, DOE grant DE-FG02-08ER41563, the TABASGO Foundation, Gary and Cynthia Bengier, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, and the Sylvia and Jim Katzman Foundation. L. B.’s research is supported by the NSF via grants PHY 05-51164 and AST 07-07633. M. S. acknowledges support from the Royal Society and the University of Oxford Fell Fund.|
|Official Citation:||The Palomar Transient Factory: System Overview, Performance, and First Results Nicholas M. Law, Shrinivas R. Kulkarni, Richard G. Dekany, Eran O. Ofek, Robert M. Quimby, Peter E. Nugent, Jason Surace, Carl C. Grillmair, Joshua S. Bloom, Mansi M. Kasliwal, Lars Bildsten, Tim Brown, S. Bradley Cenko, David Ciardi, Ernest Croner, S. George Djorgovski, Julian van Eyken, Alexei V. Filippenko, Derek B. Fox, Avishay Gal-Yam, David Hale, Nouhad Hamam, George Helou, John Henning, D. Andrew Howell, Janet Jacobsen, Russ Laher, Sean Mattingly, Dan McKenna, Andrew Pickles, Dovi Poznanski, Gustavo Rahmer, Arne Rau, Wayne Rosing, Michael Shara, Roger Smith, Dan Starr, Mark Sullivan, Viswa Velur, Richard Walters, and Jeff Zolkower Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 2009 121:886, 1395-1408|
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|Deposited By:||Joy Painter|
|Deposited On:||11 Jan 2010 23:38|
|Last Modified:||26 Dec 2012 11:40|
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