Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Type Ia Supernovae as Extragalactic Distance Indicators
- Author(s): Branch, D
- Nugent, P
- Fisher, A
- et al.
Because Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) are not perfect standard candles, it is important to be able to use distance-independent observables (DIOs) to define subsets of SNe Ia that are ``nearly standard candles'' or to correct SN Ia absolute magnitudes to make them nearly homogeneous (``standardized candles''). This is not crucial for the measurement of H_0, but it is for the measurement of q_0 and of parent-galaxy peculiar velocities. We discuss the use of various photometric and spectroscopic SN Ia DIOs, and a parent-galaxy DIO, for this purpose. We also discuss the status of the absolute-magnitude calibration of SNe Ia. We find that SNe Ia, whether calibrated by means of (1) Cepheids in their parent galaxies, (2) fitting their optical-ultraviolet spectra with detailed non-LTE model atmosphere calculations, or (3) by considering that the light curve is powered by the decay of radioactive Ni, firmly indicate that the value of H_0 is low, less than or about 60 km/s/Mpc. Some issues regarding the determination of q_0 by means of SNe Ia are discussed briefly. Finally, we conjecture that even if q_0 = 0.5, there probably is no cosmic age problem.