The Palomar Transient Factory was a synoptic sky survey carried out on the 48-inch Oschin Schmidt Telescope at Palomar Observatory, the same telescope as used for the well-known POSS survey some fifty years earlier. The PTF camera was formerly the CFHT-12k camera and was substantially modified for its new mission, most notably through the use of a mechanical cryo-cooler instead of liquid nitrogen, a new image flattener, and electronics modifications. The camera has 11 functional 2048x4096 CCDs, with a roughly 1 arcsecond per pixel plate scale, yielding a total area per exposure of just over 7 square degrees. A shutter provides accurate exposure timing. A filter exchanger mechanism allows up to two filters to be used. Typically, these are R and g-band; an additional set of H-alpha filters are also in use. The camera saw first light on December 13, 2008 and entered routine operations since mid-2009. Together with the follow-on "intermediate Palomar Transient Factory", or iPTF, the project continued on through 2017. iPTF differed from PTF in having a greater emphasis on focussed (often stellar) science programs, which typically rotated on a quarterly basis.
I led the data-processing development effort at IPAC. IPAC performed high-fidelity reduction and calibration of the data, and maintains a repository for all image and catalog data. Typical turnaround times for IPAC processing were of order 2-3 days before they appeared in the archive. We are also developing an NEO (near earth object) program.

All of the PTF data are publicly available. They may be accessed through the archive at IRSA.

I wrote an ADASS proceeding on this data processing and archiving architecture.
Sky coverage at R-band as of 2015, with a total of 1566 nights and 3.1 million images. Most of the sky visible from the southern hemisphere and above the galactic plane has been sighted dozens of times.



This is a truecolor PTF image of M51 including R and g-band, as well as a rest-frame H-alpha image taken as part of a dedicated all-sky H-alpha survey.