The zwicky transient facility: Science objectives

Matthew J. Graham, S. R. Kulkarni, Eric C. Bellm, Scott M. Adams, Cristina Barbarino, Nadejda Blagorodnova, Dennis Bodewits, Bryce Bolin, Patrick R. Brady, S. Bradley Cenko, Chan Kao Chang, Michael W. Coughlin, K. Kishalay De, Gwendolyn Eadie, Tony L. Farnham, Ulrich Feindt, Anna Franckowiak, Christoffer Fremling, Suvi Gezari, Shaon GhoshDaniel A. Goldstein, V. Zach Golkhou, Ariel Goobar, Anna Y.Q. Ho, Daniela Huppenkothen, Željko Ivezić, R. Lynne Jones, Mario Juric, David L. Kaplan, Mansi M. Kasliwal, Michael S.P. Kelley, Thomas Kupfer, Chien De Lee, Hsing Wen Lin, Ragnhild Lunnan, Ashish A. Mahabal, Adam A. Miller, Chow Choong Ngeow, Peter Nugent, Eran O. Ofek, Thomas A. Prince, Ludwig Rauch, Jan Van Roestel, Steve Schulze, Leo P. Singer, Jesper Sollerman, Francesco Taddia, Lin Yan, Quan Zhi Ye, Po Chieh Yu, Tom Barlow, James Bauer, Ron Beck, Justin Belicki, Rahul Biswas, Valery Brinnel, Tim Brooke, Brian Bue, Mattia Bulla, Rick Burruss, Andrew Connolly, John Cromer, Virginia Cunningham, Richard Dekany, Alex Delacroix, Vandana Desai, Dmitry A. Duev, Michael Feeney, David Flynn, Sara Frederick, Avishay Gal-Yam, Matteo Giomi, Steven Groom, Eugean Hacopians, David Hale, George Helou, John Henning, David Hover, Lynne A. Hillenbrand, Justin Howell, Tiara Hung, David Imel, Wing Huen Ip, Edward Jackson, Shai Kaspi, Stephen Kaye, Marek Kowalski, Emily Kramer, Michael Kuhn, Walter Landry, Russ R. Laher, Peter Mao, Frank J. Masci, Serge Monkewitz, Patrick Murphy, Jakob Nordin, Maria T. Patterson, Bryan Penprase, Michael Porter, Umaa Rebbapragada, Dan Reiley, Reed Riddle, Mickael Rigault, Hector Rodriguez, Ben Rusholme, Jakob Van Santen, David L. Shupe, Roger M. Smith, Maayane T. Soumagnac, Robert Stein, Jason Surace, Paula Szkody, Scott Terek, Angela Van Sistine, Sjoert Van Velzen, W. Thomas Vestrand, Richard Walters, Charlotte Ward, Chaoran Zhang, Jeffry Zolkower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), a public–private enterprise, is a new time-domain survey employing a dedicated camera on the Palomar 48-inch Schmidt telescope with a 47 deg2 field of view and an 8 second readout time. It is well positioned in the development of time-domain astronomy, offering operations at 10% of the scale and style of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) with a single 1-m class survey telescope. The public surveys will cover the observable northern sky every three nights in g and r filters and the visible Galactic plane every night in g and r. Alerts generated by these surveys are sent in real time to brokers. A consortium of universities that provided funding (“partnership”) are undertaking several boutique surveys. The combination of these surveys producing one million alerts per night allows for exploration of transient and variable astrophysical phenomena brighter than r∼20.5 on timescales of minutes to years. We describe the primary science objectives driving ZTF, including the physics of supernovae and relativistic explosions, multi-messenger astrophysics, supernova cosmology, active galactic nuclei, and tidal disruption events, stellar variability, and solar system objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number078001
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number1001
StatePublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
C.-K. Chang, W.-H. Ip, C.-D. Lee, Z.-Y. Lin, C.-C. Ngeow, and P.-C. Yu thank the funding from Ministry of Science and Technology (Taiwan) under grant 104-2923-M-008-004-MY5, 104-2112-M-008-014-MY3, 105-2112-M-008-002-MY3, 106-2811-M-008-081, and 106-2112-M-008-007.

Funding Information:
M.T. Soumagnac acknowledges support by a grant from IMOS/ISA, the Ilan Ramon fellowship from the Israel Ministry of Science and Technology and the Benoziyo center for Astrophysics at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Funding Information:
A. A. Miller is funded by the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Corporation in support of the Data Science Fellowship Program.

Funding Information:
M. Bulla and A. Goobar acknowledge support from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) and the Swedish National Space Board.

Funding Information:
E. Bellm, B. Bolin, A. Connolly, V. Z. Golkhou, D. Huppenkothen, Z. Ivezić L. Jones, M. Juric, and M. Patterson acknowledge support from the University of Washington College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Astronomy, and the DIRAC Institute. University of Washington’s DIRAC Institute is supported through generous gifts from the Charles and Lisa Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, and the Washington Research Foundation. M. Juric and A. Connolly acknowledge the support of the Washington Research Foundation Data Science Term Chair fund, and the UW Provost’s Initiative in Data-Intensive Discovery.

Funding Information:
M. W. Coughlin is supported by the David and Ellen Lee Postdoctoral Fellowship at the California Institute of Technology. S. Ghosh acknowledges the NSF award PHY-1607585.

Funding Information:
A. A. Mahabal acknowledges support from the following grants: NSF AST-1749235, NSF-1640818, and NASA 16-ADAP16-0232.

Funding Information:
E. Ofek is grateful for support by a grant from the Israeli Ministry of Science, ISF, Minerva, BSF, BSF transformative program, and the I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee and The Israel Science Foundation (grant No. 1829/12).

Funding Information:
B.T. Bolin acknowledges funding for the Asteroid Institute program provided by B612 Foundation, W.K. Bowes Jr. Foundation, P. Rawls Family Fund, and two anonymous donors in addition to general support from the B612 Founding Circle.

Funding Information:
M. M. Kasliwal and Q.-Z. Ye acknowledge support by the GROWTH (Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen) project funded by the National Science Foundation PIRE (Partnership in International Research and Education) program under Grant No 1545949.

Funding Information:
A. Gal-Yam is supported by the EU via ERC grant No. 725161, the Quantum Universe I-Core program, the ISF, the BSF Transformative program and by a Kimmel award.

Funding Information:
J. Sollerman acknowledges support from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

Funding Information:
S. Gezari is supported in part by NSF CAREER grant 1454816 and NSF AAG grant 1616566.

Funding Information:
E. Bellm, A. Connolly, Z. Ivezić L. Jones, M. Juric, and M. Patterson acknowledge support from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which is supported in part by the National Science Foundation through Cooperative Agreement 1258333 managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), and the Department of Energy under contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515 with the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Additional LSST funding comes from private donations, grants to universities, and in-kind support from LSSTC Institutional Members.

Funding Information:
Based on observations obtained with the Samuel Oschin 48-inch Telescope and the 60-inch Telescope at the Palomar Observatory as part of the Zwicky Transient Facility project, a scientific collaboration among the California Institute of Technology, the Oskar Klein Centre, the Weizmann Institute of Science, the University of Maryland, the University of Washington, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the TANGO Program of the University System of Taiwan. Further support is provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation under grant No. AST-1440341.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific. All rights reserved.


  • (galaxies:) quasars: general
  • supernovae: general
  • surveys

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