The Accuracy of the Hubble Constant Measurement Verified through Cepheid Amplitudes

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The accuracy of the Hubble constant measured with extragalactic Cepheids depends on robust photometry and background estimation in the presence of stellar crowding. The conventional approach accounts for crowding by sampling backgrounds near Cepheids and assuming that they match those at their positions. We show a direct consequence of crowding by unresolved sources at Cepheid sites is a reduction in the fractional amplitudes of their light curves. We use a simple analytical expression to infer crowding directly from the light curve amplitudes of >200 Cepheids in three Type Ia supernovae hosts and NGC 4258 as observed by Hubble Space Telescope-the first near-infrared amplitudes measured beyond the Magellanic Clouds. Where local crowding is minimal, we find near-infrared amplitudes match Milky Way Cepheids at the same periods. At greater stellar densities we find that the empirically measured amplitudes match the values predicted (with no free parameters) from crowding assessed in the conventional way from local regions, confirming their accuracy for estimating the background at the Cepheid locations. Extragalactic Cepheid amplitudes would need to be ∼20% smaller than measured to indicate additional, unrecognized crowding as a primary source of the present discrepancy in H 0. Rather, we find the amplitude data constrains a systematic mis-estimate of Cepheid backgrounds to be 0.029 ± 0.037 mag, more than 5× smaller than the size of the present ∼0.2 mag tension in H 0. We conclude that systematic errors in Cepheid backgrounds do not provide a plausible resolution to the Hubble tension.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Riess, AG; Yuan, W; Casertano, S; MacRi, LM; Scolnic, D

Published Date

  • June 20, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 896 / 2

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2041-8213

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2041-8205

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3847/2041-8213/ab9900

Citation Source

  • Scopus