June 9, 2011

HPWREN helps Caltech-led Astronomers Find a New Class of Stellar Explosion

By W. Scott Kardel Public Affairs Coordinator, Palomar Observatory

The Palomar Transient Factory survey currently taking place at Palomar Observatory is a real-time search for explosions of stars, known as supernovae. It involves multiple telescopes and a distant computing center that examines new images moments after they are taken. The high-speed data transfer provided by the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network is essential to the survey. As of this date the survey has discovered 1,170 supernovae, including four unusual ones described in this recent press release from Caltech at http://media.caltech.edu/press_releases/13425, and an article in Nature at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature10095.html.

The 1.2-meter Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory that was used to discover four supernovae of a new class. Inset: one of the newly discovered supernovae, PTF09cnd.

Image credit: Caltech/Scott Kardel/Robert Quimby/modified from Nature

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