Evidence for Cosmic Acceleration Is Robust to Observed Correlations between Type Ia Supernova Luminosity and Stellar Age
© 2020 The American Astronomical Society. Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) are powerful standardizable candles for constraining cosmological models and provided the first evidence of the accelerated expansion of the universe. Their precision derives from empirical correlations, now measured from >1000 SNe Ia, between their luminosities, light-curve shapes, colors, and most recently with the stellar mass of their host galaxy. As mass correlates with other galaxy properties, alternative parameters have been investigated to improve SN Ia standardization though none have been shown to significantly alter the determination of cosmological parameters. We re-examine a recent claim, based on 34 SN Ia in nearby passive host galaxies, of a 0.05 mag Gyr-1 dependence of standardized SN Ia luminosity on host age, which, if extrapolated to higher redshifts, would be a bias up to 0.25 mag, challenging the inference of dark energy. We reanalyze this sample of hosts using both the original method and a Bayesian hierarchical model and find after a fuller accounting of the uncertainties the significance of a dependence on age to be ≤2σ and ∼1σ after the removal of a single poorly sampled SN Ia. To test the claim that a trend seen in old stellar populations can be applied to younger ages, we extend our analysis to a larger sample that includes young hosts. We find the residual dependence of host age (after all standardization typically employed for cosmological measurements) to be consistent with zero for 254 SNe Ia from the Pantheon sample, ruling out the large but low significance trend seen in passive hosts.
Rose, BM; Rubin, D; Cikota, A; Deustua, SE; Dixon, S; Fruchter, A; Jones, DO; Riess, AG; Scolnic, DM
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