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The absolute magnitudes of Type IA supernovae
Phillips, M. M.
AA(Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, La Serena, Chile)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 2 - Letters (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 413, no. 2, p. L105-L108. (ApJL Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Light Curve, Stellar Magnitude, Supernovae, White Dwarf Stars, Astronomical Photometry, Brightness Distribution, Stellar Luminosity
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Absolute magnitudes in the B, V, and I bands are derived for nine well-observed Type Ia supernovae, using host galaxy distances estimated via the surface brightness fluctuations or Tully-Fisher methods. These data indicate that there is a significant intrinsic dispersion in the absolute magnitudes at maximum light of Type Ia supernovae, amounting to +/- 0.8 mag in B, +/- 0.6 mag in V, and +/- 0.5 mag in I. Moreover, the absolute magnitudes appear to be tightly correlated with the initial rate of decline of the B light curve, with the slope of the correlation being steepest in B and becoming progressively flatter in the V and I bands. This implies that the intrinsic B - V colors of Type Ia supernovae at maximum light are not identical, with the fastest declining light curves corresponding to the intrinsically reddest events. Certain spectroscopic properties may also be correlated with the initial decline rate. These results are most simply interpreted as evidence for a range of progenitor masses, although variations in the explosion mechanism are also possible. Considerable care must be exercised in employing Type Ia supernovae as cosmological standard candles, particularly at large redshifts where Malmquist bias could be an important effect.

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