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Proceedings Paper

The Palomar Transient Factory Survey Camera: first year performance and results
Author(s): N. M. Law; R. G. Dekany; G. Rahmer; D. Hale; R. Smith; R. Quimby; E. O. Ofek; M. Kasliwal; J. Zolkower; V. Velur; J. Henning; K. Bui; D. McKenna; P. Nugent; J. Jacobsen; R. Walters; J. Bloom; J. Surace; C. Grillmair; R. Laher; S. Mattingly; S. Kulkarni
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Paper Abstract

The Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) is a new fully-automated, wide-field survey conducting a systematic exploration of the optical transient sky. The transient survey is performed using a new 8.1 square degree, 101 megapixel camera installed on the 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory. The PTF Camera achieved first light at the end of 2008, completed commissioning in July 2009, and is now in routine science operations. The camera is based on the CFH12K camera, and was extensively modified for use on the 48-inch telescope. A field-flattening curved window was installed, the cooling system was re-engineered and upgraded to closed-cycle, custom shutter and filter exchanger mechanisms were added, new custom control software was written, and many other modifications were made. We here describe the performance of these new systems during the first year of Palomar Transient Factory operations, including a detailed and long term on-sky performance characterization. We also describe lessons learned during the construction and commissioning of the upgraded camera, the photometric and astrometric precision currently achieved with the PTF camera, and briefly summarize the first supernova results from the PTF survey.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 July 2010
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7735, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III, 77353M (20 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.857400
Show Author Affiliations
N. M. Law, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)
Caltech Optical Observatories, California Institute of Technology (United States)
R. G. Dekany, Caltech Optical Observatories, California Institute of Technology (United States)
G. Rahmer, Caltech Optical Observatories, California Institute of Technology (United States)
D. Hale, Caltech Optical Observatories, California Institute of Technology (United States)
R. Smith, Caltech Optical Observatories, California Institute of Technology (United States)
R. Quimby, Cahill Ctr. for Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology (United States)
E. O. Ofek, Cahill Ctr. for Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology (United States)
M. Kasliwal, Cahill Ctr. for Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology (United States)
J. Zolkower, Caltech Optical Observatories, California Institute of Technology (United States)
V. Velur, Caltech Optical Observatories, California Institute of Technology (United States)
J. Henning, Caltech Optical Observatories, California Institute of Technology (United States)
K. Bui, Caltech Optical Observatories, California Institute of Technology (United States)
D. McKenna, Caltech Optical Observatories, California Institute of Technology (United States)
P. Nugent, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (United States)
J. Jacobsen, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (United States)
R. Walters, Caltech Optical Observatories, California Institute of Technology (United States)
J. Bloom, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
J. Surace, California Institute of Technology (United States)
C. Grillmair, California Institute of Technology (United States)
R. Laher, California Institute of Technology (United States)
S. Mattingly, California Institute of Technology (United States)
S. Kulkarni, Cahill Ctr. for Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7735:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III
Ian S. McLean; Suzanne K. Ramsay; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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