Observatory-Affiliated Projects

Palomar Observatory has a long history of hosting novel and innovative new astronomy projects. The following is a sample of the new developments we are pursuing at the Observatory:


ZTF on the Oschin Telescope. (Palomar/ZTF)

The Palomar Gattini IR telescope. (Gattini IR Team)

The Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), named for Caltech astronomer Fritz Zwicky, is the latest in an arc of optical transient projects hosted on the Palomar Oschin and 60-inch telescopes. A novel 570 megapixel camera paired with the Oschin operates as the robotic discovery engine for ZTF, and the 60-inch telescope robotically provides followup low-dispersion optical spectroscopy for rapid transient source classification. ZTF serves a large international collaboration of astronomers, and the US National astronomy community under sponsorship of the US National Science Foundation.

More information is available at the ZTF website.

Gattini IR

Palomar Gattini IR is a novel wide-field (25 deg2 field of view), near-infrared transient survey project, scanning the skies robotically every clear night. It searches for astronomical transient events in the infrared J band (wavelength of 1.2 μm), and is a technical precursor for more ambitious transient surveys at Palomar and elsewhere.

More information is available at the Palomar Gattini IR project website.


The PAlomar Radial Velocity Instrument (PARVI) is a new capability for Palomar/P200, developed by a collaboration between Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), and Caltech scientists and engineers. It has the promise of making radial velocity (motion along the line of sight to a star) measurements of stars at exquisite levels of precision—better than 1 meter/second for bright stars.

More information is available at a Big Eye newsletter article.


The Next Generation Palomar Spectrograph (NGPS) is planned as a replacement for the venerable facility Double Spectrograph, and is being jointly developed by Caltech and the National Optical Observatories of China (NAOC). We anticipate first light with NGPS in 2023.

More information is available at a Palomar Observer newsletter article.

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Last updated: 22 February 2021 ACM