Wednesday, October 13, 2010

News & Discoveries from Palomar Transient Factory

The total number of supernovae discovered via the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) survey has climbed to 800.

The heart of the survey is Palomar's 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope.

Be sure to check out the article from on PTF and astronomical data mining.

According to the article each night the 48-inch "telescope picks up 1.5 million candidate transients — fleeting astronomical phenomena — in the sky. Ten thousand or so of these are bona fide objects, and about 10 turn out to be new. Finding a few needles in a giant haystack night after night is a relatively new challenge for astronomers".

One of the more recent announcements out of the survey is that of the discovery of a possible "super-Chandrasekhar Type Ia Supernova". That would be the explosion of a white dwarf star that is more massive than is typically expected. They may possibly result from the merger and detonation of two white dwarf stars. For more on Type Ia supernovae, check out this fine summary from OPT telescopes.

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