The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is an operating optical survey aimed at understanding the accelerating expansion of the universe using four complementary methods: weak gravitational lensing, galaxy cluster counts, baryon acoustic oscillations, and Type Ia supernovae. To perform the 5000 sq-degree wide field and 30 sq-degree supernova surveys, the DES Collaboration built the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), a 3 square-degree, 570-Megapixel CCD camera that was installed at the prime focus of the Blanco 4-meter telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO). DES has completed its third observing season out of a nominal five. This paper describes DES “Year 1” (Y1) to “Year 3” (Y3), the strategy, an outline of the survey operations procedures, the efficiency of operations and the causes of lost observing time. It provides details about the quality of the first three season's data, and describes how we are adjusting the survey strategy in the face of the El Niño Southern Oscillation.
Astrophysics is transforming from a data-starved to a data-swamped discipline, fundamentally changing the nature of scientific inquiry and discovery. New technologies are enabling the detection, transmission, and storage of
data of hitherto unimaginable quantity and quality across the electromagnetic, gravity and particle spectra. The
observational data obtained during this decade alone will supersede everything accumulated over the preceding
four thousand years of astronomy. Currently there are 4 large-scale photometric and spectroscopic surveys underway, each generating and/or utilizing hundreds of terabytes of data per year. Some will focus on the static
universe while others will greatly expand our knowledge of transient phenomena. Maximizing the science from
these programs requires integrating the processing pipeline with high-performance computing resources. These
are coupled to large astrophysics databases while making use of machine learning algorithms with near real-time
turnaround. Here we present an overview of one of these programs, the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF). We
will cover the processing and discovery pipeline we developed at LBNL and NERSC for it and several of the
great discoveries made during the 4 years of observations with PTF.
The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is a next generation optical survey aimed at understanding the accelerating expansion of the universe using four complementary methods: weak gravitational lensing, galaxy cluster counts, baryon acoustic oscillations, and Type Ia supernovae. To perform the 5000 sq-degree wide field and 30 sq-degree supernova surveys, the DES Collaboration built the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), a 3 square-degree, 570-Megapixel CCD camera that was installed at the prime focus of the Blanco 4-meter telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO). DES started its first observing season on August 31, 2013 and observed for 105 nights through mid-February 2014. This paper describes DES “Year 1” (Y1), the strategy and goals for the first year's data, provides an outline of the operations procedures, lists the efficiency of survey operations and the causes of lost observing time, provides details about the quality of the first year's data, and hints at the “Year 2” plan and outlook.
The Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) is a new fully-automated, wide-field survey conducting a systematic exploration
of the optical transient sky. The transient survey is performed using a new 8.1 square degree, 101 megapixel camera
installed on the 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory. The PTF Camera achieved first light at the
end of 2008, completed commissioning in July 2009, and is now in routine science operations. The camera is based on
the CFH12K camera, and was extensively modified for use on the 48-inch telescope. A field-flattening curved window
was installed, the cooling system was re-engineered and upgraded to closed-cycle, custom shutter and filter exchanger
mechanisms were added, new custom control software was written, and many other modifications were made. We here
describe the performance of these new systems during the first year of Palomar Transient Factory operations, including
a detailed and long term on-sky performance characterization. We also describe lessons learned during the construction
and commissioning of the upgraded camera, the photometric and astrometric precision currently achieved with the PTF
camera, and briefly summarize the first supernova results from the PTF survey.
Virtual Control Room allows a team of people in various locations to contribute fully to an instrument acquisition:
a reduced support is required on site but, due to the large support available off site, the data taking quality can be
still better compared to the usual on-site support scheme. The acquisition of the SNfactory spectro-photometric
follow-up is based on such data taking model. This acquisition and its performances are presented here.
Mission requirements, the baseline design, and optical systems budgets for the SuperNova/Acceleration Probe (SNAP) telescope are presented. SNAP is a proposed space-based experiment designed to study dark energy and alternate explanations of the acceleration of the universe’s expansion by performing a series of complementary systematics-controlled astrophysical measurements. The goals of the mission are a Type Ia supernova Hubble diagram and a wide-field weak gravitational lensing survey. A 2m widefield three-mirror telescope feeds a focal plane consisting of 36 CCDs and 36 HgCdTe detectors and a high-efficiency, low resolution integral field spectrograph. Details of the maturing optical system, with emphasis on structural stability during terrestrial testing as well as expected environments during operations at L2 are discussed. The overall stray light mitigation system, including illuminated surfaces and visible objects are also presented.
A well-adapted spectrograph concept has been developed for the SNAP (SuperNova/Acceleration Probe) experiment. The goal is to ensure proper identification of Type Iz supernovae and to standardize the magnitude of each candidate by determining explosion parameters. The spectrograph is also a key element for the calibration of the science mission. An instrument based on an integral field method with the powerful concept of imager slicing has been designed and is presented in this paper. The spectrograph concept is optimized to have high efficiency and low spectral resolution (R~100), constant through the wavelength range (0.35-1.7μm), adapted to the scientific goals of the mission.
We present the baseline telescope design for the telescope for the SuperNova/Acceleration Probe (SNAP) space mission. SNAP’s purpose is to determine expansion history of the Universe by measuring the redshifts, magnitudes, and spectral classifications of thousands of supernovae with unprecedented accuracy. Discovering and measuring these supernovae demand both a wide optical field and a high sensitivity throughout the visible and near IR wavebands. We have adopted the annular-field three-mirror anastigmat (TMA) telescope configuration, whose classical aberrations (including chromatic) are zero. We show a preliminary optmechanical design that includes important features for stray light control and on-orbit adjustment and alignment of the optics. We briefly discuss stray light and tolerance issues, and present a preliminary wavefront error budget for the SNAP Telescope. We conclude by describing some of the design tasks being carried out during the current SNAP research and development phase.
The proposed SuperNova/Acceleration Probe (SNAP) mission will have a two-meter class telescope delivering diffraction-limited images to an instrumented 0.7 square degree field in the visible and near-infrared wavelength regime. The requirements for the instrument suite and the present configuration of the focal plane concept are presented. A two year R&D phase, largely supported by the Department of Energy, is just beginning. We describe the development activities that are taking place to advance our preparedness for mission proposal in the areas of detectors and electronics.
The SuperNova/Acceleration Probe (SNAP) will measure precisely the cosmological expansion history over both the acceleration and deceleration epochs and thereby constrain the nature of the dark energy that dominates our universe today. The SNAP focal plane contains equal areas of optical CCDs and NIR sensors and an integral field spectrograph. Having over 150 million pixels and a field-of-view of 0.34 square degrees, the SNAP NIR system will be the largest yet constructed. With sensitivity in the range 0.9-1.7 μm, it will detect Type Ia supernovae between z = 1 and 1.7 and will provide follow-up precision photometry for all supernovae. HgCdTe technology, with a cut-off tuned to 1.7 μm, will permit passive cooling at 140 K while maintaining noise below zodiacal levels. By dithering to remove the effects of intrapixel variations and by careful attention to other instrumental effects, we expect to control relative photometric accuracy below a few hundredths of a magnitude. Because SNAP continuously revisits the same fields we will be able to achieve outstanding statistical precision on the photometry of reference stars in these fields, allowing precise monitoring of our detectors. The capabilities of the NIR system for broadening the science reach of SNAP are discussed.
A well-adapted spectrograph concept has been developed for the SNAP (SuperNova/Acceleration Probe) experiment. The goal is to ensure proper identification of Type Ia supernovae and to standardize the magnitude of each candidate by determining explosion parameters. An instrument based on an integral field method with the powerful concept of imager slicing has been designed and is presented in this paper. The spectrograph concept is optimized to have very high efficiency and low spectral resolution (R~100), constant through the wavelength range (0.35-1.7μm), adapted to the scientific goals of the mission.
The proposed SuperNova/Acceleration Probe (SNAP) mission will have a two-meter class telescope delivering diffraction-limited images to an instrumented 0.7 square-degree field sensitive in the visible and near-infrared wavelength regime. We describe the requirements for the instrument suite and the evolution of the focal plane design to the present concept in which all the instrumentation -- visible and near-infrared imagers, spectrograph, and star guiders -- share one common focal plane.
The Nearby Supernova Factory (Snfactory) is an international experiment designed to lay the foundation for the next generation of cosmology experiments (such as CFHTLS, wP, SNAP and LSST) which will measure the expansion history of the Universe using Type Ia supernovae. The Snfactory will discover and obtain frequent lightcurve spectrophotometry covering 3200-10000Å for roughly 300 Type Ia supernovae at the low-redshift end of the smooth Hubble flow. The quantity, quality, breadth of galactic environments, and homogeneous nature of the Snfactory dataset will make it the premier source of calibration for the Type Ia supernova width-brightness relation and the intrinsic supernova colors used for K-correction and correction for extinction by host-galaxy dust. This dataset will also allow an extensive investigation of additional parameters which possibly influence the quality of Type Ia supernovae as cosmological probes. The Snfactory search capabilities and follow-up instrumentation include wide-field CCD imagers on two 1.2-m telescopes (via collaboration with the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking team at JPL and the QUEST team at Yale), and a two-channel integral-field-unit optical spectrograph/imager being fabricated for the University of Hawaii 2.2-m telescope. In addition to ground-based follow-up, UV spectra for a subsample of these supernovae will be obtained with HST. The pipeline to obtain, transfer via wireless and standard internet, and automatically process the search images is in operation. Software and hardware development is now underway to enable the execution of follow-up spectroscopy of supernova candidates at the Hawaii 2.2-m telescope via automated remote control of the telescope and the IFU spectrograph/imager.
The Supernova / Acceleration Probe (SNAP) is a proposed space-borne observatory that will survey the sky with a wide-field optical/near-infrared (NIR) imager. The images produced by SNAP will have an unprecedented combination of depth, solid-angle, angular resolution, and temporal sampling. For 16 months each, two 7.5 square-degree fields will be observed every four days to a magnitude depth of AB=27.7 in each of the SNAP filters, spanning 3500-17000Å. Co-adding images over all epochs will give AB=30.3 per filter. In addition, a 300 square-degree field will be surveyed to AB=28 per filter, with no repeated temporal sampling. Although the survey strategy is tailored for supernova and weak gravitational lensing observations, the resulting data will support a broad range of auxiliary science programs.
The SuperNova/Acceleration Probe (SNAP) mission will require a two-meter class telescope delivering diffraction limited images spanning a one degree field in the visible and near infrared wavelength regime. This requirement, equivalent to nearly one billion pixel resolution, places stringent demands on its optical system in terms of field flatness, image quality, and freedom from chromatic aberration. We discuss the advantages of annular-field three-mirror anastigmat (TMA) telescopes for applications such as SNAP, and describe the features of the specific optical configuration that we have baselined for the SNAP mission. We discuss the mechanical design and choice of materials for the telescope. Then we present detailed ray traces and diffraction calculations for our baseline optical design. We briefly discuss stray light and tolerance issues, and present a preliminary wavefront error budget for the SNAP Telescope. We conclude by describing some of tasks to be carried out during the upcoming SNAP research and development phase.
The SuperNova / Acceleration Probe (SNAP) is a space-based experiment to measure the expansion history of the Universe and study both its dark energy and the dark matter. The experiment is motivated by the startling discovery that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating. A 0.7~square-degree imager comprised of 36 large format fully-depleted n-type CCD's sharing a focal plane with 36 HgCdTe detectors forms the heart of SNAP, allowing discovery and lightcurve measurements simultaneously for many supernovae. The imager and a high-efficiency low-resolution integral field spectrograph are coupled to a 2-m three mirror anastigmat wide-field telescope, which will be placed in a high-earth orbit. The SNAP mission can obtain high-signal-to-noise calibrated light-curves and spectra for over 2000 Type Ia supernovae at redshifts between z = 0.1 and 1.7. The resulting data set can not only determine the amount of dark energy with high precision, but test the nature of the dark energy by examining its equation of state. In particular, dark energy due to a cosmological constant can be differentiated from alternatives such as "quintessence", by measuring the dark energy's equation of state to an accuracy of ± 0.05, and by studying its time dependence.