A new robotic telescope in California, designed to explore the
exploding Universe, begins operations.
The Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) is a new robotic telescope located
at Mt. Palomar, in California. It will scan the skies every night
with a state-of-the-art digital camera, looking for exploding stars,
gamma-ray bursts, and other exciting events. The camera is gigantic,
with over 500 megapixels covering an area of 247 full moons, and will
generate 130 GB of data every hour. UWM is a partner in ZTF.
ZTF took this "first-light" image on Nov. 1, 2017, after being installed at the 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory. The full-resolution version is more than 24,000 pixels by 24,000 pixels. Each ZTF image covers a sky area equal to 247 full moons. The Orion nebula is at lower right. Computers searching these images for transient, or variable, events are trained to automatically recognize and ignore non-astronomical sources, such as the vertical "blooming" lines seen here.
Credit: Caltech Optical Observatories.
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