A Precise Distance Indicator: Type Ia Supernova Multicolor Light‐Curve Shapes
Riess, Adam G.
Press, William H.
Kirshner, Robert P.
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CitationRiess, Adam G., William H. Press, and Robert P. Kirshner. 1996. “A Precise Distance Indicator: Type Ia Supernova Multicolor Light‐Curve Shapes.” The Astrophysical Journal 473 (1): 88–109. https://doi.org/10.1086/178129.
AbstractWe present an empirical method that uses multicolor light-curve shapes (MLCSs) to estimate the luminosity, distance, and total line-of-sight extinction of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). The empirical correlation between the MLCSs and the luminosity is derived from a ''training set'' of nine SN Ia light curves with independent distance and reddening estimates. We find that intrinsically dim SN Ia's are redder and have faster light curves than the bright ones, which are slow and blue. By 35 days after maximum, the intrinsic color variations become negligible. A formal treatment of extinction employing Bayes's theorem is used to estimate the best value and its uncertainty. Applying the MLCS method to both light curves and to color curves provides enough information to determine which supernovae are dim because they are distant, which are intrinsically dim, and which are dim because of extinction by dust. The precision of the MLCS distances is examined by constructing a Hubble diagram with an independent set of 20 SN Ia's. The dispersion of 0.12 mag indicates a typical distance accuracy of 5% for a single object, and the intercept yields a Hubble constant on the Sandage et al. Cepheid distance scale of H-0 = 64 +/- 3 (statistical) km s(-1) Mpc(-1) (+/- 6 total error). The slope of 0.2010 +/- 0.0035 mag over the distance interval 32.2 < mu < 38.3 yields the most precise confirmation of the linearity of the Hubble law.
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