skip to main content

Title: A possible distance bias for type Ia supernovae with different ejecta velocities
ABSTRACT After correcting for their light-curve shape and colour, Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) are precise cosmological distance indicators. However, there remains a non-zero intrinsic scatter in the differences between measured distance and that inferred from a cosmological model (i.e. Hubble residuals or HRs), indicating that SN Ia distances can potentially be further improved. We use the open-source relational data base kaepora to generate composite spectra with desired average properties of phase, light-curve shape, and HR. At many phases, the composite spectra from two subsamples with positive and negative average HRs are significantly different. In particular, in all spectra from 9 d before to 15 d after peak brightness, we find that SNe with negative HRs have, on average, higher ejecta velocities (as seen in nearly every optical spectral feature) than SNe with positive HRs. At +4 d relative to B-band maximum, using a sample of 62 SNe Ia, we measure a 0.091 ± 0.035 mag (2.7σ) HR step between SNe with Si ii λ6355 line velocities ($v_{Si\, rm{\small II}}$) higher/lower than −11 000 km s−1 (the median velocity). After light-curve shape and colour correction, SNe with higher velocities tend to have underestimated distance moduli relative to a cosmological model. The intrinsic scatter in our sample reduces from 0.094 to 0.082 mag after making this more » correction. Using the Si ii λ6355 velocity evolution of 115 SNe Ia, we estimate that a velocity difference >500 km s−1 exists at each epoch between the positive-HR and negative-HR samples with 99.4 per cent confidence. Finally at epochs later than +37 d, we observe that negative-HR composite spectra tend to have weaker spectral features in comparison to positive-HR composite spectra. « less
; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1815935 1518052
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
5713 to 5725
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. ABSTRACT The ejecta velocity is a very important parameter in studying the structure and properties of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) and is a candidate key parameter in improving the utility of SNe Ia for cosmological distance determinations. Here, we study the velocity distribution of a sample of 311 SNe Ia from the kaepora data base. The velocities are derived from the Si ii λ6355 absorption line in optical spectra measured at (or extrapolated to) the time of peak brightness. We statistically show that the observed velocity has a bimodal Gaussian distribution (population ratio 201:110 or 65 per cent:35 per cent) consisting of two groups of SNe Ia: Group Imore »with a lower but narrower scatter ($11\, 000 \pm 700\, \mathrm{km\, s}^{-1}$), and Group II with a higher but broader scatter ($12\, 300 \pm 1800\, \mathrm{km\, s}^{-1}$). The true origin of the two components is unknown. Naturally, there could exist two intrinsic velocity distributions observed. However, we try to use asymmetric geometric models through statistical simulations to reproduce the observed distribution assuming that all SNe Ia share the same intrinsic distribution. In the two cases we consider, 35 per cent of SNe Ia are considered to be asymmetric in Case 1, and all SNe Ia are asymmetric in Case 2. Simulations for both cases can reproduce the observed velocity distribution but require a significantly large portion ($\gt 35{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) of SNe Ia to be asymmetric. In addition, the Case 1 result is consistent with recent SNe Ia polarization observations that higher Si ii λ6355 velocities tend to be more polarized.« less

    In this work, BVRI light curves of 55 Type II supernovae (SNe II) from the Lick Observatory Supernova Search programme obtained with the Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope and the 1 m Nickel telescope from 2006 to 2018 are presented. Additionally, more than 150 spectra gathered with the 3 m Shane telescope are published. We conduct an analyse of the peak absolute magnitudes, decline rates, and time durations of different phases of the light and colour curves. Typically, our light curves are sampled with a median cadence of 5.5 d for a total of 5093 photometric points. In average, V-band plateau declines with amore »rate of 1.29 mag (100 d)−1, which is consistent with previously published samples. For each band, the plateau slope correlates with the plateau length and the absolute peak magnitude: SNe II with steeper decline have shorter plateau duration and are brighter. A time-evolution analysis of spectral lines in term of velocities and pseudo-equivalent widths is also presented in this paper. Our spectroscopic sample ranges between 1 and 200 d post-explosion and has a median ejecta expansion velocity at 50 d post-explosion of 6500 km s−1 (H α line) and a standard dispersion of 2000 km s−1. Nebular spectra are in good agreement with theoretical models using a progenitor star having a mass <16M⊙. All the data are available to the community and will help to understand SN II diversity better, and therefore to improve their utility as cosmological distance indicators.

    « less

    The Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) 2011by, hosted in NGC 3972, and 2011fe, hosted in M101, are optical ‘twins,’ having almost identical optical light-curve shapes, colours, and near-maximum-brightness spectra. However, SN 2011fe had significantly more ultraviolet (UV; 1600 < λ < 2500 Å) flux than SN 2011by before and at peak luminosity. Several theoretical models predict that SNe Ia with higher progenitor metallicity should (1) have additional UV opacity and thus lower UV flux; (2) have an essentially unchanged optical spectral-energy distribution; (3) have a similar optical light-curve shape; and (4) because of the excess neutrons, produce more stable Fe-group elements atmore »the expense of radioactive 56Ni and thus have a lower peak luminosity. Following these predictions, Foley and Kirshner suggested that the difference in UV flux between SNe 2011by and 2011fe was the result of their progenitors having significantly different metallicities. They also measured a large, but insignificant, difference between the peak absolute magnitudes of the SNe (ΔMV, peak = 0.60 ± 0.36 mag), with SN 2011fe being more luminous. We present a new Cepheid-based distance to NGC 3972, substantially improving the precision of the distance measurement for SN 2011by. With these new data, we determine that the SNe have significantly different peak luminosities (ΔMV, peak = 0.335 ± 0.069 mag). Consequently, SN 2011fe produced 38 per cent more 56Ni than SN 2011by, consistent with predictions for progenitor metallicity differences for these SNe, although alternative models may also explain this difference. We discuss how progenitor metallicity differences can contribute to the intrinsic scatter for light-curve-shape-corrected SN luminosities, the use of ‘twin’ SNe for measuring distances, and implications for using SNe Ia for constraining cosmological parameters.

    « less
  4. The type Ia supernova (SN) 2012fr displayed an unusual combination of its Si II λλ5972, 6355 features. This includes the ratio of their pseudo-equivalent widths, placing it at the border of the shallow silicon (SS) and core normal (CN) spectral subtype in the Branch diagram, while the Si II λ6355 expansion velocities place it as a high-velocity (HV) object in the Wang et al. spectral type that most interestingly evolves slowly, placing it in the low-velocity gradient (LVG) typing of Benetti et al. Only 5% of SNe Ia are HV and located in the SS+CN portion of the Branch diagram,more »and fewer than 10% of SNe Ia are both HV and LVG. These features point toward SN 2012fr being quite unusual, similar in many ways to the peculiar SN 2000cx. We modeled the spectral evolution of SN 2012fr to see if we could gain some insight into its evolutionary behavior. We use the parameterized radiative transfer code SYNOW to probe the abundance stratification of SN 2012fr at pre-maximum, maximum, and post-maximum light epochs. We also use a grid of W7 models in the radiative transfer code PHOENIX to probe the effect of different density structures on the formation of the Si II λ6355 absorption feature at post-maximum epochs. We find that the unusual features observed in SN 2012fr are likely due to a shell-like density enhancement in the outer ejecta. We comment on possible reasons for atypical Ca II absorption features, and suggest that they are related to the Si II features. This paper includes data gathered with the 6.5 m Magellan Baade Telescope, located at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile.« less
  5. ABSTRACT We present improved photometric measurements for the host galaxies of 206 spectroscopically confirmed type Ia supernovae discovered by the Dark Energy Survey Supernova Program (DES-SN) and used in the first DES-SN cosmological analysis. For the DES-SN sample, when considering a 5D (z, x1, c, α, β) bias correction, we find evidence of a Hubble residual ‘mass step’, where SNe Ia in high-mass galaxies (>1010M⊙) are intrinsically more luminous (after correction) than their low-mass counterparts by $\gamma =0.040\pm 0.019$ mag. This value is larger by 0.031 mag than the value found in the first DES-SN cosmological analysis. This difference is duemore »to a combination of updated photometric measurements and improved star formation histories and is not from host-galaxy misidentification. When using a 1D (redshift-only) bias correction the inferred mass step is larger, with $\gamma =0.066\pm 0.020$ mag. The 1D−5D γ difference for DES-SN is $0.026\pm 0.009$ mag. We show that this difference is due to a strong correlation between host galaxy stellar mass and the x1 component of the 5D distance-bias correction. Including an intrinsic correlation between the observed properties of SNe Ia, stretch and colour, and stellar mass in simulated SN Ia samples, we show that a 5D fit recovers γ with −9 mmag bias compared to a +2 mmag bias for a 1D fit. This difference can explain part of the discrepancy seen in the data. Improvements in modelling correlations between galaxy properties and SN is necessary to ensure unbiased precision estimates of the dark energy equation of state as we enter the era of LSST.« less