Hello From Palomar
I’m Robert, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology working on thePalomar Transient Factory (PTF). I have arrived at the Palomar Observatory in anticipation of my two night run on the 5.1 meter Hale Telescope. The plan is to take spectra of new PTF discoveries to find out what they are, and maybe follow-up on some of the more interesting sources we’ve already identified.
As you can see from the photo, the mountain was dusted with snow a couple days ago, but it was quite nice out at my arrival. Hopefully the wet stuff will help clear up our ash problem left over from this summer’s wild fires. More rain and/or snow may fall in the next few days, but I’m hoping the skies will clear up enough at night so that I can get some observing in.
Our survey telescope, which is just a short walk from the Hale Telescope, has gathered some new images over the last few nights. These likely contain a few new supernovae which you can help us identify. If all goes well, I will make spectroscopic observations the next two nights of the best candidates found. These data will reveal what the candidates are. There’s always the chance of discovering something new, which makes this all very exciting!
So happy hunting, and look for updates throughout my observing run.
I love Mt Palomar, it was the first mountain we visited when we moved to CA from NY …. I have always wanted to visit the Hale Telescope, but I guess helping your fellow galaxy zoo scientist classify our fellow outer-space galaxies from home can help better understand our own existence. Can civilians actually get a tour of Mt. Palomars’ Observatory?
Cool Picture. I wish I could go to see the Hale telescope. My dad told me it’s a really old telescope. I’m hoping to organize some of the Hale telescope’s new pictures.
I’m glad my physics teacher told my class to go on this website (Mr Dootson – you rock) but i want to visit the Hale telescope and I live in England. It sucks.
Everyone who’s interested about astronomy and cosmology, and are eager to learn more, there’s a free online video course (50 hours or so) @ University of California, Berkeley, called: Introduction to General Astronomy (instructor Dr. Alex Filippenko).
Dr. Alex Filippenko is very famous astrophysicist and he has received numerous honors for his undergraduate teaching, including the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization in 2004. In 2006 Filippenko was awarded the US Professor of the Year Award.
Filippenko was a member of the Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-z Supernova Search Team that used observations of extragalactic supernovae to discover the accelerating universe. This universal acceleration implies the existence of dark energy and was voted the top science breakthrough of 1998 by Science magazine.
Link to lecture videos.
I have watched this lecture series many, many times, and I must say that Alex is absolutely amazing lecturer. These lectures are highly educational, informative, entertaining, great fun and yet sometimes really touching. Best of all, these lectures are free for everyone to watch. Highly recommended!
I would encourage everyone to go see Mt. Palomar Observatory. I got a tour when I was a kid and it was one of the coolest experiences I remember. In the area durning the summer there is the Julian Starfest, and last summer when I went, we could opt for a behind the scenes tour of the Observatory. If you are from California check both of these out!