CfA3:185 type Ia supernova light curves from the CfA

Malcolm Hicken, Peter Challis, Saurabh Jha, Robert P. Kirshner, Tom Matheson, Maryam Modjaz, Armin Rest, W. Michael Wood-Vasey, Gaspar Bakos, Elizabeth J. Barton, Perry Berlind, Ann Bragg, Cesar Briceño, Warren R. Brown, Nelson Caldwell, Mike Calkins, Richard Cho, Larry Ciupik, Maria Contreras, Kristi Concannon DendyAnil Dosaj, Nick Durham, Kris Eriksen, Gil Esquerdo, Mark Everett, Emilio Falco, Jose Fernandez, Alejandro Gaba, Peter Garnavich, Genevieve Graves, Paul Green, Ted Groner, Carl Hergenrother, Matthew J. Holman, Vit Hradecky, John Huchra, Bob Hutchison, Diab Jerius, Andres Jordan, Roy Kilgard, Miriam Krauss, Kevin Luhman, Lucas Macri, Daniel Marrone, Jonathan McDowell, Daniel McIntosh, Brian McNamara, Tom Megeath, Barbara Mochejska, Diego Munoz, James Muzerolle, Orlando Naranjo, Gautham Narayan, Michael Pahre, Wayne Peters, Dawn Peterson, Ken Rines, Ben Ripman, Anna Roussanova, Rudolph Schild, Aurora Sicilia-Aguilar, Jennifer Sokoloski, Kyle Smalley, Andy Smith, Tim Spahr, K. Z. Stanek, Pauline Barmby, Stéphane Blondin, Christopher W. Stubbs, Andrew Szentgyorgyi, Manuel A.P. Torres, Amili Vaz, Alexey Vikhlinin, Zhong Wang, Mike Westover, Deborah Woods, Ping Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present multiband photometry of 185 type-Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), with over 11,500 observations. These were acquired between 2001 and 2008 at the F. L. Whipple Observatory of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). This sample contains the largest number of homogeneously observed and reduced nearby SNe Ia (z ≲ 0.08) published to date. It more than doubles the nearby sample, bringing SN Ia cosmology to the point where systematic uncertainties dominate. Our natural system photometry has a precision of ≲ 0.02 mag in BVRIr'i' and ≲ 0.04 mag in U for points brighter than 17.5 mag. We also estimate a systematic uncertainty of 0.03 mag in our SN Ia standard system BVRIr'i' photometry and 0.07 mag for U. Comparisons of our standard system photometry with published SN Ia light curves and comparison stars, where available for the same SN, reveal agreement at the level of a few hundredths mag in most cases. We find that 1991bg-like SNe Ia are sufficiently distinct from other SNe Ia in their color and light-curve-shape/luminosity relation that they should be treated separately in light-curve/distance fitter training samples. The CfA3 sample will contribute to the development of better light-curve/distance fitters, particularly in the few dozen cases where near-infrared photometry has been obtained and, together, can help disentangle host-galaxy reddening from intrinsic supernova color, reducing the systematic uncertainty in SN Ia distances due to dust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-357
Number of pages27
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 20 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • General
  • Supernovae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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