The current PTF camera only uses a small fraction (7.3 square degrees) of the available 47 square degree focal plane of the Palomar 48-inch Samuel Oschin Schmidt telescope. A new camera with 16 6k x 6k CCDs fills the focal plane, providing a sixfold increase in the sky captured in each image.

This camera will have the world's widest field of view on a telescope larger than a half meter: each image will cover 235 times the area of the full moon.

An innovative optical design maintains PTF's image quality over the much wider field. Speedy modern readout electronics add only 10 seconds of overhead per exposure. Well-tested iPTF data reduction pipelines will scale up straightforwardly to ZTF's higher data rates.

ZTF will build on the proven heritage of the PTF survey to provide more than an order of magnitude increase in survey speed at low risk.

Conference proceedings describing ZTF are available: Bellm 2014, Smith et al. 2014.  A formal instrument paper will be published after commissioning.

Technical Specifications

Telescope Samuel Oschin 48-inch Schmidt,
Palomar Observatory
Field of View

47 square degrees

Detectors 16 e2v 6k x 6k CCD231-C6
Pixel size

15 micron

Pixel scale


Median Delivered Image Quality

2.0" FWHM

Exposure Time 30 sec
Readout Time 10 sec
Median Time Between Exposures 15 sec

Median Single Visit Depth
(5 sigma, R band )

20.4 mag (all lunar phases)
Filters ZTF g, ZTF r
Areal Survey Rate 3750 square degrees/hour