Giant Black Hole Pair Photobombs Andromeda Galaxy
News Release • November 30, 2017
An intriguing source has been discovered in the nearby Andromeda galaxy using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ground-based optical telescopes. Previously thought to be part of the Milky Way’s neighbor galaxy, the new research shows this source is actually a very distant object 2.6 billion li...
PTF Third Public Data Release
News Release • December 1, 2016
The PTF Third Public Data Release (DR3) occurred September 1, 2016. This adds to DR1 and DR2 by including selected g- and R-band data obtained from January 1, 2013 through January 28, 2015. This represents the first 25 months of the Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) phase. It also includes a n...
The 2016 iPTF Summer School at Caltech
News Release • July 20, 2016
The intermediate Palomar Transient Factory held its 2016 iPTF Summer School on July 17 - 21, 2016 at California Institute of Technology. This 4th annual summer school welcomed over 44 participants from various universities and institutions. The Summer School introduced time domain astronomy to students by...
A Memorial Service was held to honor Gerry Luppino on April 2, 2016
News Release • May 3, 2016
Gerry Luppino, a former astronomer at Institute for Astronomy at University of Hawaii, passed away on March 3, 2016. Gerry is a major figure in CCDs for astronomy. He built the CFH12K system which has been used since 2009 by PTF at the Palomar 48 inch telescope. Read more about Gerry Luppino at http://www....
PTF Second Public Data Release
News Release • July 16, 2015
The PTF second data release (DR2) will occur on August 7, 2015. This will include all g- and R-band data obtained through the end of December, 2012. Unlike the first data release (DR1), there will be no spatial restrictions placed on the data and the release scope will encompass the entire northern sky. F...
iPTF Discovers a Supernova Colliding with Its Companion Star
News Release • May 21, 2015
Type Ia supernovae, one of the most dazzling phenomena in the universe, are produced when white dwarfs explode with ferocious intensity. Although thousands of supernovae of this kind were found in the last decades, the process by which a white dwarf becomes one has been unclear. That began to change on Ma...
The 2015 iPTF Summer School at Caltech
News Release • February 3, 2015
The intermediate Palomar Transient Factory announces the 2015 iPTF Summer School, to be held at California Institute of Technology from August 24th - 28th, 2015. The purpose of this Summer School is three-fold: (i) Introduce time domain science to students by teaching them basic concepts and techniques us...
Caught in the act: Cosmic radio burst
In The News • January 20, 2015
Fast radio bursts are quick, bright flashes of radio waves from an unknown source in space. They are a mysterious phenomenon that last only a few milliseconds, and until now they have not been observed in real time. An international team of astronomers, including three from the Carnegie Observatories, has ...
NSF Award Helps Fund a Fast New Transient Survey: the Zwicky Transient Facility
News Release • October 17, 2014
Thanks to a $9 million grant from the National Science Foundation and matching funds from the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) collaboration, a new camera is being built at Caltech's Palomar Observatory that will be able to survey the entire Northern Hemisphere sky in a single night.
Supernova Caught in the Act by Palomar Transient Factory
News Release • May 21, 2014
Supernovae—stellar explosions—are incredibly energetic, dynamic events. It is easy to imagine that they are uncommon, but the universe is a big place and supernovae are actually fairly routine. The problem with observing supernovae is knowing just when and where one is occurring and being able to point a w...
The Closest Look at the Nearest "Standard Candle" Supernova in Several Decades
News Release • March 24, 2014
OSK, Stockholm - Supernova 2014J in the nearby galaxy M82 -- less than 12 million light-years away -- was first seen on January 14, 2014, and was the closest “standard candle” supernova since (at least) 42 years. A coordinated observational effort orchestrated by the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory ...
Sky Survey Captures Key Details of Cosmic Explosions
News Release • October 16, 2013
The intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) started searching the skies in February. Since its inception, iPTF has been successful in the early discovery and rapid follow-up studies of transients. Two recent papers describe first-time detections of a rare supernova and the afterglow of a gamma-ray bu...
Birth of a Black Hole
Feature Story • May 3, 2013
A new kind of cosmic flash may reveal something never seen before: the birth of a black hole. Surveys such as the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF), are well suited to discover these unique events. The intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF), which improves on the PTF and just began surveying in Februa...
The "Supernova of a Generation" Shows Its Stuff
Feature Story • December 24, 2011
It was the brightest and closest stellar explosion seen from Earth in 25 years, dazzling professional and backyard astronomers alike. Now, thanks to this rare discovery—which some have called the "supernova of a generation"—astronomers have the most detailed picture yet of how this kind of explosion happens.
PTF11kly in the News
In The News • September 7, 2011
In a galaxy not so far away, at least in astronomical terms, the death of a star has created a bright light in the sky. When scientists looked at the Pinwheel Galaxy, about 21 million light years away, on Aug. 22, all looked normal. But over the next two days, a light emerged. It was a supernova, one of th...
Hydrogen-poor Superluminous Stellar Explosions
Featured Publication • June 11, 2011
(Nature Letter): Observations are presented of a class of luminous supernovae whose properties cannot be explained by any of these processes. The class includes four new supernovae that were discovered by PTF and two previously unexplained events (SN 2005ap and SCP 06F6) that are now identified as members ...
Unique Sky Survey Brings New Objects into Focus
News Release • June 15, 2009
An innovative sky survey has begun returning images that will be used to detect unprecedented numbers of powerful cosmic explosions–called supernovae–in distant galaxies, and variable brightness stars in our own Milky Way. The survey also may soon reveal new classes of astronomical objects.