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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Type IIP supernovae as cosmological probes: A SEAM distance to SN 1999em

  • Author(s): Baron, E.
  • Nugent, Peter E.
  • Branch, David
  • Hauschildt, Peter H.
  • et al.

Because of their intrinsic brightness, supernovae make excellent cosmological probes. We describe the spectral-fitting expanding atmosphere method (SEAM) for obtaining distances to Type IIP supernovae (SNe IIP) and present a distance to SN 1999em for which a Cepheid distance exists. Our models give results consistent with the Cepheid distance, even though we have not attempted to tune the underlying hydrodynamical model but have simply chosen the best fits. This is in contradistinction to the expanding photosphere method (EPM), which yields a distance to SN 1999em that is 50 percent smaller than the Cepheid distance. We emphasize the differences between the SEAM and the EPM. We show that the dilution factors used in the EPM analysis were systematically too small at later epochs. We also show that the EPM blackbody assumption is suspect. Since SNe IIP are visible to redshifts as high as z<~;6, with the James Webb Space Telescope, the SEAM may be a valuable probe of the early universe.

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