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"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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.