Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 February 2013
The Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) is a project aimed to discover transients in the Universe, including Type Ia supernovae, core-collapse supernovae, and other exotic and rare transient events. PTF utilizes the Palomar 48-inch Telescope (P48) for discovering the transients, and follow-up mainly by the Palomar 60-inch Telescope (P60, for photometric light and color curves), as well as other telescopes. The discovery rate of PTF is about 7000 candidate transients per year, but currently only about 10% of the candidates are being followed-up and classified. To overcome this shortcoming, a dedicated spectrograph, called the SED Machine, is being designed and built at the California Institute of Technology for the P60 Telescope, aiming to maximize the classification efficiency of transients discovered by PTF. The SED Machine is a low resolution (R ~ 100) IFU spectrograph. It consists of a rainbow camera for spectrophotometric calibration, and a lenslet array plus 3-prism optics system for integrated field spectra. An overview of the science and design of the SED Machine is presented here.