The intermediate Palomar Transient Factory

Image taken from the PTF camera and IPAC data reduction pipeline (credit: Jason Surace, PTF collaboration)
In February this year the iPTF (intermediate Palomar Transient Factory) program was started.
This is a survey searching for optical transients using a robotic 1.2 meter telescope in California, and the Oskar Klein Centre is one of the participating institutes for the next 2 years. The aim is to discover transients – in particular supernovae – at an earlier stage than hitherto possible, hopefully within hours after the explosion. The concrete scientific question we want to address is the nature of the progenitor systems of supernovae, and this requires very early observations of these explosions, before the memory of the initial configuration gets lost.

In the summer, a new spectrograph at the nearby 1.5m telescope will also be able to automatically classify the new transients found by the search telescope. iPTF builds upon the previous Palomar Transient Factory that successfully discovered almost 2000 supernovae since 2009. The plan
is to move via the {\it intermediate} search to the full-scale Zwicky
Transient Facility in mid-2015, where a five times larger area of the sky
will be monitored.

Members of the OKC have submitted applications to join also that effort – fingers crossed.

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