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The aftermath of a supernova seen for the first time

Jan 10, 2024 | Press release

A team of astronomers from the ZTF partnership used ZTF and a suite of other telescopes available to the ZTF partners to discover and analyze supernova SN2022jli. While nothing is uncommon about the name of this supernova, it goes down in history as the first one that revealed to us in near real time what astronomers have long believed and had sparse clues to. When they die, massive stars leave behind the most compact object in the universe we know of - black holes or neutron stars.


The weirdest of them all - a stellar corpse shows signs of life

Nov 15, 2023 | Press release

The Zwicky Transient Facility captured repeated energetic flares from a stellar corpse, a phenomena astronomer are observing for the very first time. The research advances longstanding goals to map how stars’ properties in life may predict the way they will die, and the type of corpse they produce.


Astronomers Discover Extremely Warped Supernova

June 12, 2023 | Press release

Astronomers have captured a bizarre image of a supernova, the powerful explosion of a star, whose light was so warped by the gravity of another galaxy that it appears as multiple images in the sky. This effect, known as gravitational lensing, occurs when the gravity of a dense object distorts and brightens the light of an object behind it.


Radio signals reveal the origin of a supernova

May 17, 2023 | Press release

Astronomers from the Zwicky Transient Facility collaboration based at the University of Stockholm, Sweden have uncovered the origin of a thermonuclear supernova explosion. Strong emission lines of helium and the first detection of such a supernova in radio waves show that the exploding white dwarf star had a helium-rich companion.


ZTF sees a star eating its world

May 3, 2023 | Press release

For the first time, astronomers have caught a star in the act of swallowing a planet whole. The sun-like star, called ZTF SLRN-2020, lies about 15,000 light-years away in our galaxy and is thought to have engulfed a hot gas giant about the size of Jupiter or smaller.


ZTF makes first discovery of a rare cosmic 'lunch'

Nov 30, 2022 | News

Tidal disruption events are violent cosmic displays of a black hole devouring a nearby star. Astronomers uncovered a very rare flavor of such an event in the survey data from the Zwicky Transient Facility.


1000 supernovae classified autonomously with machine learning

Nov 22, 2022 | News

Astronomers from the ZTF collaboration at Caltech have developed a machine learning algorithm that autonomously classifies supernovae and reports them to the global astronomical community for follow up observations. Sieving through millions of supernovae candidates, the algorithm, dubbed SNIascore has now classified 1000 such objects.


Native American tribe names a ZTF-discovered asteroid

June 9, 2022 | News

Members of the Pauma band native American tribe, whose ancestral lands include the Palomar mountain, gathered at the Palomar Observatory to name a unique asteroid discovered back in 2020 by ZTF. "Ayló'chaxnim" or "Venus Girl" is the first asteroid to be found that circles entirely within the orbit of Venus.


ZTF captures a possible candidate of a high-energy neutrino for a second time

June 3, 2022 | News

Led by researchers at DESY, Germany, astronomers have discovered and analyzed an extremely bright tidal disruption event that may be associated with a high-energy neutrino. The discovery was done with the ZTF survey and the study is published today in the Physical Review Letters.


"Black Widow" Star Devours Its Rapidly Circling Companion

May 4, 2022 | News

Astronomers from the ZTF partnership have discovered a black widow star system, in which the stars orbit around each other every 62 minutes—the shortest orbital period observed to date for this type of binary star system.


ZTF Analyzes Impact of Starlink Satellites

Jan 17, 2022 | News

A study of archival images from Zwicky Transient Facility shows an increase in satellite streaks but state that the effect on the science conducted with the ZTF survey is so far minimal.


A Wolf-Rayet star explodes as a supernova

Jan 12, 2022 | Press Release

For the first time, astronomers have observed an extremely massive star - generally suspected to sneakily die as a black hole - explode in a supernova. The team of astronomers, led by a team from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, made the initial discovery back in June 2019 with the Zwicky Transient Facility.


Astronomers discover an unusually short gamma-ray burst from the death of a massive star

July 26, 2021 | Press Release

On Aug. 26, 2020, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected a pulse of high-energy radiation that had been racing toward Earth for nearly half the present age of the universe. Lasting only about a second, it turned out to be one for the record books – the shortest gamma-ray burst (GRB) caused by the death of a massive star ever seen.


A White Dwarf Living on the Edge

June 30, 2021 | Press Release

Astronomers have discovered the smallest and most massive white dwarf ever seen. The smoldering cinder, which formed when two less massive white dwarfs merged, is about 4,300 kilometers across, or somewhat larger than Earth's moon.


Machine learning helps astronomers classify dying stars

April 28, 2021 | News

Astronomers from the Zwicky Transient Facility team announce the first fully automated classification of Type Ia supernova.


A hungry black hole first discovered by ZTF is the likely source of a rare neutrino

Feb 22, 2021 | Press Release

Neutrinos are abundant subatomic particles that are notoriously hard to detect. It's even harder to pinpoint their source and study their origin. Using ZTF as part of a program specifically designed to follow up neutrino detections, astronomers led by a team at Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) have linked a neutrino caught by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory to a tidal disruption event, dubbed AT2019DSG.


ZTF receives NSF support for phase II

Oct 26, 2020 | News

Thanks to continued funding from the National Science Foundation in the USA and partner institutions, the global ZTF partnership will continue to operate ZTF in the coming three years. The end of ZTF Phase II in Sept 2023 will also marks the rise of the Vera Rubin Observatory.


Astronomers gather clues about unseen cataclysmic collisions

Sept 14, 2020 | News

Two large international collaborations of astronomers joined forces to look for light from some of the most cataclysmic events – the collisions of a neutron star and black hole. They did not find it this time, but the scientific journey has provided important insights on how to better hunt for these colossal, yet elusive phenomena in the future.


ZTF Finds Closest Known Asteroid to Fly By Earth

August 18, 2020 | News

On August 16, the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), a robotic survey camera located at Palomar Observatory near San Diego, spotted an asteroid that had, just hours earlier, traveled only 1,830 miles (2,950 kilometers) above Earth's surface. Designated 2020 QG, it is the closest known asteroid to fly by Earth without impacting the planet. The previous known record-holder is asteroid 2011 CQ1, discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey in 2011, which passed above Earth about 1,550 miles (2,500 kilometers) higher than 2020 QG.


Spectacular Ultraviolet Flash May Finally Explain How White Dwarfs Explode

July 23, 2020 | News

For just the second time ever, astrophysicists have spotted a spectacular flash of ultraviolet (UV) light accompanying a white dwarf explosion. An extremely rare type of supernova, the event is poised to offer insights into several long-standing mysteries, including what causes white dwarfs to explode, how dark energy accelerates the cosmos and how the universe creates heavy metals, such as iron.


Black Hole Collision May Have Exploded with Light

June 15, 2020 | Press Release

With the help of Caltech's Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and located at Palomar Observatory near San Diego, the scientists have spotted what might be a flare of light from a pair of coalescing black holes. The black hole merger was first witnessed by the NSF's Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and the European Virgo detector on May 21, 2019, in an event called S190521g. As the black holes merged, jiggling space and time, they sent out gravitational waves.


First Asteroid Found Inside Orbit of Venus

Jan 15, 2020 | Press Release

A rare asteroid orbiting snugly within the inner confines of our solar system has been discovered by Caltech's Zwicky Transient Facility, or ZTF, a survey camera based at Palomar Observatory. The newfound body, named 2020 AV2, is the first asteroid found to orbit entirely within the orbit of Venus.