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Exploring the Optical Transient Sky with the Palomar Transient Factory

Rau, Arne and Kulkarni, Shrinivas R. and Law, Nicholas M. and Bloom, Joshua S. and Ciardi, David and Djorgovski, George S. and Fox, Derek B. and Gal-Yam, Avishay and Grillmair, Carl C. and Kasliwal, Mansi M. and Nugent, Peter E. and Ofek, Eran O. and Quimby, Robert M. and Reach, William T. and Shara, Michael and Bildsten, Lars and Cenko, S. Bradley and Drake, Andrew J. and Filippenko, Alexei V. and Helfand, David J. and Helou, George and Howell, D. Andrew and Poznanski, Dovi and Sullivan, Mark (2009) Exploring the Optical Transient Sky with the Palomar Transient Factory. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 121 (886). pp. 1334-1351. ISSN 0004-6280.

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The Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) is a wide-field experiment designed to investigate the optical transient and variable sky on time scales from minutes to years. PTF uses the CFH12k mosaic camera, with a field of view of 7.9 deg^2 and a plate scale of 1″ pixel^(-1), mounted on the Palomar Observatory 48 inch Samuel Oschin Telescope. The PTF operation strategy is devised to probe the existing gaps in the transient phase space and to search for theoretically predicted, but not yet detected, phenomena, such as fallback supernovae, macronovae, .Ia supernovae, and the orphan afterglows of gamma-ray bursts. PTF will also discover many new members of known source classes, from cataclysmic variables in their various avatars to supernovae and active galactic nuclei, and will provide important insights into understanding galactic dynamics (through RR Lyrae stars) and the solar system (asteroids and near-Earth objects). The lessons that can be learned from PTF will be essential for the preparation of future large synoptic sky surveys like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. In this article we present the scientific motivation for PTF and describe in detail the goals and expectations for this experiment.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Rau, Arne0000-0001-5990-6243
Kulkarni, Shrinivas R.0000-0001-5390-8563
Law, Nicholas M.0000-0001-9380-6457
Bloom, Joshua S.0000-0002-7777-216X
Ciardi, David0000-0002-5741-3047
Djorgovski, George S.0000-0002-0603-3087
Fox, Derek B.0000-0002-3714-672X
Gal-Yam, Avishay0000-0002-3653-5598
Grillmair, Carl C.0000-0003-4072-169X
Kasliwal, Mansi M.0000-0002-5619-4938
Nugent, Peter E.0000-0002-3389-0586
Ofek, Eran O.0000-0002-6786-8774
Quimby, Robert M.0000-0001-9171-5236
Reach, William T.0000-0001-8362-4094
Cenko, S. Bradley0000-0003-1673-970X
Filippenko, Alexei V.0000-0003-3460-0103
Helou, George0000-0003-3367-3415
Howell, D. Andrew0000-0003-4253-656X
Sullivan, Mark0000-0001-9053-4820
Additional Information:© 2009 Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Received 2008 November 28; accepted 2009 July 13; published 2009 October 5. 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 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. TheWeizmann Institute PTF partnership is supported by an ISF equipment grant to A. G., whose activity is further supported by a Marie Curie IRG grant from the EU, and by the Minerva Foundation, the 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. thanks NASA for partial support 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 DE-FG02-08ER41563, the TABASGO Foundation, Gary and Cynthia Bengier, the Sylvia and Jim Katzman Foundation, and the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund. 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. 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.
Group:Palomar Transient Factory, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Marie Curie FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Minerva FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Benoziyo Center for AstrophysicsUNSPECIFIED
Peter and Patricia Gruber FoundationUNSPECIFIED
William Z. and Eda Bess Novick New Scientists Fund at the Weizmann InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-FC02-06ER41453
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-FG02-08ER41563
Gary and Cynthia BengierUNSPECIFIED
Sylvia and Jim Katzman FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Richard and Rhoda Goldman FundUNSPECIFIED
Ajax FoundationUNSPECIFIED
NSFAST 07-07633
University of Oxford Fell FundUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:886
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100106-135303416
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Exploring the Optical Transient Sky with the Palomar Transient Factory Arne Rau, Shrinivas R. Kulkarni, Nicholas M. Law, Joshua S. Bloom, David Ciardi, George S. Djorgovski, Derek B. Fox, Avishay Gal-Yam, Carl C. Grillmair, Mansi M. Kasliwal, Peter E. Nugent, Eran O. Ofek, Robert M. Quimby, William T. Reach, Michael Shara, Lars Bildsten, S. Bradley Cenko, Andrew J. Drake, Alexei V. Filippenko, David J. Helfand, George Helou, D. Andrew Howell, Dovi Poznanski, and Mark Sullivan Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 2009 121:886, 1334-1351
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:17084
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:11 Jan 2010 23:33
Last Modified:22 Nov 2019 05:23

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