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Precursor large optical surveys of the transient sky: The Zwicky Transient Facility
November 25 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM CET
The Universe began only with hydrogen and helium. It is cosmic explosions which build up the periodic table. Astronomers have now identified several classes of cosmic explosions of which supernovae constitute the largest group. The Palomar Transient Factory was an innovative 2-telescope experiment, and its successor, the Zwicky Transient Factory (ZTF), is a high tech project with gigantic CCD cameras, sophisticated algorithms (employing machine & deep learning) and robust pipelines, and squarely aimed to systematically find “blips and booms in the middle of the night”. In this talk, Prof. Kulkarni will talk about the great returns and surprises from this project: super-luminous supernovae, new classes of transients, new light on progenitors of supernovae, detection of gamma-ray bursts by purely optical techniques and troves of pulsating stars and binary stars. ZTF is now considered to be the stepping stone for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.