University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
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Patrick Kelly

Distances with <4% precision from type Ia supernovae in young star-forming environments
Kelly et al., Science (2015)

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The luminosities of type Ia supernovae (SNe), the thermonuclear explosions of white-dwarf stars, vary systematically with their intrinsic color and the rate at which they fade. From images taken with the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), we identified SNe Ia that erupted in environments that have high ultraviolet surface brightness and star-formation surface density. When we apply a steep model extinction law, we calibrate these SNe using their broadband optical light curves to within ~0.065 to 0.075 magnitude, corresponding to <4% in distance. The tight scatter, probably arising from a small dispersion among progenitor ages, suggests that variation in only one progenitor property primarily accounts for the relationship between their light-curve widths, colors, and luminosities.