The relation between ejecta velocity, intrinsic color, and host-galaxy mass for high-redshift type Ia supernovae

Ryan J. Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently, using a large low-redshift sample of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), we discovered a relation between SN Ia ejecta velocity and intrinsic color that improves the distance precision of SNe Ia and reduces potential systematic biases related to dust reddening. No SN Ia cosmological results have yet made a correction for the "velocity-color" relation. To test the existence of such a relation and constrain its properties at high redshift, we examine a sample of 75 SNe Ia discovered and observed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-II Supernova Survey and Supernova Legacy Survey. From each spectrum, we measure ejecta velocities at maximum brightness for the Ca H&K and Si II λ6355 features, v 0 Ca H&K and v 0 Si II, respectively. Using SN light curve parameters, we determine the intrinsic B max - V max for each SN. Similar to what was found at low redshift, we find that SNe Ia with higher ejecta velocity tend to be intrinsically redder than SNe Ia with lower ejecta velocity. The distributions of ejecta velocities for SNe Ia at low and high redshift are similar, indicating that current cosmological results should have little bias related to the velocity-color relation. Additionally, we find a slight (2.4σ significant) trend between SN Ia ejecta velocity and host-galaxy mass such that SNe Ia in high-mass host galaxies tend to have lower ejecta velocities as probed by v 0 Ca H&K. These results emphasize the importance of spectroscopy for SN Ia cosmology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number127
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012


  • distance scale
  • dust, extinction
  • supernovae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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