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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The zwicky transient facility: Surveys and scheduler

  • Author(s): Bellm, EC
  • Kulkarni, SR
  • Barlow, T
  • Feindt, U
  • Graham, MJ
  • Goobar, A
  • Kupfer, T
  • Ngeow, CC
  • Nugent, P
  • Ofek, E
  • Prince, TA
  • Riddle, R
  • Walters, R
  • Ye, QZ
  • et al.

© 2019. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific. All rights reserved. We present a novel algorithm for scheduling the observations of time-domain imaging surveys. Our integer linear programming approach optimizes an observing plan for an entire night by assigning targets to temporal blocks, enabling strict control of the number of exposures obtained per field and minimizing filter changes. A subsequent optimization step minimizes slew times between each observation. Our optimization metric self-consistently weights contributions from time-varying airmass, seeing, and sky brightness to maximize the transient discovery rate. We describe the implementation of this algorithm on the surveys of the Zwicky Transient Facility and present its on-sky performance.

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