Sn 2006bt: A Perplexing, Troublesome, and Possibly Misleading Type Ia Supernova
Foley, Ryan J.
Challis, Peter J.
Filippenko, Alexei V.
Kirshner, Robert P.
Silverman, Jeffrey M.
Steele, Thea N.
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CitationFoley, Ryan J., Gautham Narayan, Peter J. Challis, Alexei V. Filippenko, Robert P. Kirshner, Jeffrey M. Silverman, and Thea N. Steele. 2009. “SN 2006bt: A PERPLEXING, TROUBLESOME, AND POSSIBLY MISLEADING TYPE Ia SUPERNOVA.” The Astrophysical Journal 708 (2): 1748–59. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637x/708/2/1748.
AbstractSN 2006bt displays characteristics unlike those of any other known Type Ia supernova (SN Ia). We present optical light curves and spectra of SN 2006bt which demonstrate the peculiar nature of this object. SN 2006bt has broad, slowly declining light curves indicative of a hot, high-luminosity SN, but lacks a prominent second maximum in the i band as do low-luminosity SNe Ia. Its spectra are similar to those of low-luminosity SNe Ia, containing features that are only present in cool SN photospheres. Light-curve fitting methods suggest that SN 2006bt is reddened by a significant amount of dust; however, it occurred in the outskirts of its early-type host galaxy and has no strong Na D absorption in any of its spectra, suggesting a negligible amount of host-galaxy dust absorption. C II is possibly detected in our pre-maximum spectra, but at a much lower velocity than other elements. The progenitor was likely very old, being a member of the halo population of a galaxy that shows no signs of recent star formation. SNe Ia have been very successfully modeled as a one-parameter family, and this is fundamental to their use as cosmological distance indicators. SN 2006bt is a challenge to that picture, yet its relatively normal light curves allowed SN 2006bt to be included in cosmological analyses. We generate mock SN Ia data sets which indicate that contamination by similar objects will both increase the scatter of a SN Ia Hubble diagram and systematically bias measurements of cosmological parameters. However, spectra and rest-frame i-band light curves should provide a definitive way to identify and eliminate such objects.
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