The local hosts of type Ia supernovae

James D. Neill, Mark Sullivan, D. Andrew Howell, Alex Conley, Mark Seibert, D. Christopher Martin, Tom A. Barlow, Karl Foster, Peter G. Friedman, Patrick Morrissey, Susan G. Neff, David Schiminovich, Ted K. Wyder, Luciana Bianchi, José Donas, Timothy M. Heckman, Young Wook Lee, Barry F. Madore, Bruno Milliard, R. Michael RichAlex S. Szalay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use multi-wavelength, matched aperture, integrated photometry from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and the RC3 to estimate the physical properties of 166 nearby galaxies hosting 168 well-observed Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). The ultraviolet (UV) imaging of local SN Ia hosts from GALEX allows a direct comparison with higher-redshift hosts measured at optical wavelengths that correspond to the rest-frame UV. Our data corroborate well-known features that have been seen in other SN Ia samples. Specifically, hosts with active star formation produce brighter and slower SNe Ia on average, and hosts with luminosity-weighted ages older than 1 Gyr produce on average more faint, fast, and fewer bright, slow SNe Ia than younger hosts. New results include that in our sample, the faintest and fastest SNe Ia occur only in galaxies exceeding a stellar mass threshold of ∼1010 M , leading us to conclude that their progenitors must arise in populations that are older and/or more metal rich than the general SN Ia population. A low host extinction subsample hints at a residual trend in peak luminosity with host age, after correcting for light-curve shape, giving the appearance that older hosts produce less-extincted SNe Ia on average. This has implications for cosmological fitting of SNe Ia, and suggests that host age could be useful as a parameter in the fitting. Converting host mass to metallicity and computing 56Ni mass from the supernova light curves, we find that our local sample is consistent with a model that predicts a shallow trend between stellar metallicity and the 56Ni mass that powers the explosion, but we cannot rule out the absence of a trend. We measure a correlation between 56Ni mass and host age in the local universe that is shallower and not as significant as that seen at higher redshifts. The details of the age-56Ni mass correlations at low and higher redshift imply a luminosity-weighted age threshold of ∼3 Gyr for SN Ia hosts, above which they are less likely to produce SNe Ia with 56Ni masses above ∼0.5 M .

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1449-1465
Number of pages17
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Supernovae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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