A Complete Survey of the Catastrophic Universe

While it looks static to the naked eye, the night sky is filled with activity: a star explodes somewhere in the observable universe once every second. The vast majority of these explosions go unheralded, but a new generation of synoptic optical surveys are finally enabling us to systematically chart the entire parameter space of these dramatic endpoints of stellar evolution. I will describe how we are using the Zwicky Transient Facility to investigate this “zoo” of cosmic explosions. I will first present new measurements of the rates, luminosity functions, and demographics of a variety of well-established supernova types and illustrate how these observations are providing new insights into the connection between the lives and deaths of their massive stellar progenitors. Then, moving to the extremes of stellar evolution I will summarize our discoveries of the rarest and most energetic explosions: off-axis gamma-ray bursts, “dirty” fireballs from moderately-relativistic jets, direct-collapse events, and kilonovae.