The Type Ia Supernova Color-Magnitude Relation and Host Galaxy Dust: A Simple Hierarchical Bayesian Model


Journal Article

© 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Conventional Type Ia supernova (SN Ia) cosmology analyses currently use a simplistic linear regression of magnitude versus color and light curve shape, which does not model intrinsic SN Ia variations and host galaxy dust as physically distinct effects, resulting in low color-magnitude slopes. We construct a probabilistic generative model for the dusty distribution of extinguished absolute magnitudes and apparent colors as the convolution of an intrinsic SN Ia color-magnitude distribution and a host galaxy dust reddening-extinction distribution. If the intrinsic color-magnitude (M B versus B - V) slope βint differs from the host galaxy dust law R B, this convolution results in a specific curve of mean extinguished absolute magnitude versus apparent color. The derivative of this curve smoothly transitions from βint in the blue tail to R B in the red tail of the apparent color distribution. The conventional linear fit approximates this effective curve near the average apparent color, resulting in an apparent slope βapp between βint and R B. We incorporate these effects into a hierarchical Bayesian statistical model for SN Ia light curve measurements, and analyze a data set of SALT2 optical light curve fits of 248 nearby SNe Ia at z < 0.10. The conventional linear fit gives βapp ≈ 3. Our model finds βint = 2.3 ± 0.3 and a distinct dust law of RB = 3.8 ± 0.3, consistent with the average for Milky Way dust, while correcting a systematic distance bias of ∼0.10 mag in the tails of the apparent color distribution. Finally, we extend our model to examine the SN Ia luminosity-host mass dependence in terms of intrinsic and dust components.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mandel, KS; Scolnic, DM; Shariff, H; Foley, RJ; Kirshner, RP

Published Date

  • June 20, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 842 / 2

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1538-4357

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0004-637X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3847/1538-4357/aa6038

Citation Source

  • Scopus