Zwicky Transient Facility

The Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) is a new time-domain survey that has achieved first light in November of 2017. Building on the highly successful legacy of the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF), ZTF will use a new camera with a 47 square degree field of view mounted on the Samuel Oschin 48-inch Schmidt telescope to scan the sky for interesting new moving and variable objects. ZTF’s extremely wide field and fast readout electronics will enable a survey more than an order of magnitude faster than that PTF


UW Astronomy faculty and researches are interested in a wide variety of science investigations that ZTF will make possible, ranging from studying variable objects to the asteroids in the Solar System.

ZTF’s data volume is about 1/10th of LSST’s, so data-intensive methods are vital to ZTF’s scientific returns. At DiRAC, we are building the ZTF alert stream and filtering service to allow scientists worldwide to follow up ZTF transient discoveries in real time. DiRAC scientists are also exploring new approaches to handling large time series databases in order to find rare and exotic variable objects. We are also using ZTF as a testbed for asteroid discovery techniques in preparation for LSST.