Shedding Light on Dark Energy with Standard Candles: Advancing the Cosmological Utlity and Understanding of Type Ia Supernovae

Sapere Aude Level II Funded Research Project
Project ID: 0602-02197B _FNU_ØVRIGT
Funding Period: October 2012 - April 2017
PI Associate Professor Maximilian Stritzinger
at the
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Aarhus University
Aarhus, Danmark

Tel:       +45 8715-6619
Fax:      +45 8612-0740

Project Summary

Type Ia supernovae (SN-Ia) provided the first direct evidence for the existence of dark energy, and will play a pivotal role in mapping out the expansion history of the Universe. To be successfully exploited in next-generation experiments, aimed at characterizing the time-evolution of dark energy and the eventual fate of the Universe, SN-Ia distances must reach percent level accuracy. This project presents a multi-pronged strategy that uses the most accurate dataset of nearby SN-Ia yet obtained (by the Carnegie Supernova Project) to achieve this level of accuracy. A strong emphasis is also placed to elucidate the nature of their progenitor stars and how they explode with the hope to further improve upon their utility for measuring cosmic distances.


  • PI Maximilian Stritzinger
  • Research Assistant Simon Holmbo 2017
  • Postdoc Mikkel Nielsen 2016-2017
  • Postdoc Christa Gall 2013-2017
  • Postdoc Eric Hsiao 2014-2015
  • Postdoc Carlos Contreras 2013-2014
  • Master Students: Sune Drybye 2016-2017 (SN imposters), Nanna Bill 2015-2016 (SN 2010jl), Simon Holmbo 2015-2016 (SN Ib/c spectrscopy), Rasmus Laursen 2015-2016 (superluminous SN 2015bn)
  • Bachelor Students: Rasmus Laursen (Optical and near-IR light curves of SNe Ib/c observed by the Carnegie Supernova Project II), Sune Dyrbye (SN imposters observed by the Carnegie Supernova Project I), Lasse Nielsen (The Type IaX supernova 2013gr), Mattias Bojsen-Hansen (Detailed study of the Type IIn supernova SN 2013L), Camilla Borre (The peculiar Type Ia supernova 2010kg), Kenneth Andersen 2015-2016 (Reddening and NIR observations of SNe Ia), Rasmus Krog (The overluminous Type Ia supernova 2016gxp), Ida Madsen (Near-IR spectroscopic observations of the peculiar Type Ib supernova 2016adj hosted in Centaurus A)

    Refereed Publications Supported in full or in part by my FNU Sapere Level II Grant

  • 2018: 5 published, project ended and Villum project running.
  • Contreras et al. 2018, ApJ, 859, 24 : SN 2012fr: Ultraviolet, Optical, and Near-Infrared Light Curves of a Type Ia Supernova Observed Within a Day of First Light
  • Mazzali et al., 2018, MNRAS, 476, 2905: The nebular spectra of the transitional Type Ia Supernovae 2007on and 2011iv: broad, multiple components indicate aspherical explosion cores
  • Ashall et al. 2018, MNRAS, 477, 153: Abundance Tomography of the fast-declining type Ia supernovae SN 2007on and 2011iv
  • Lyman et al. 2018, MNRAS, 473, 1359: Investigating the diversity of supernovae type Iax: A MUSE and NOT spectroscopic study of their environments
  • Gall et al. 2017, A&A, 611, 58: Two transitional type Ia supernovae located in the Fornax cluster member NGC 1404: SN 2007on and SN 2011iv

    2017: 14 published
  • Gutierrez et al. 2017, ApJ, 850, 90: Type II Supernova Spectral Diversity. Paper II: Spectroscopic and Photometeric Correlations
  • Gutierrez et al. 2017, ApJ, 850, 89: Type II Supernova Spectral Diversity. Paper I: Observations, Sample Characterization and Spectral Line Evolution
  • Holoien et al. 2017, MNRAS, 471, 4966: The ASAS-SN Bright Supernova Catalog -- III. 2016
  • Krisciunas et al. 2017, AJ, 154, 211: The Carnegie Supernova Project I: Third Photometry Data Release of Low-Redshift Type Ia Supernovae and Other White Dwarf Explosions
  • Hosseinzadeh et al., 2017, ApJ Letters, 854, 11: Early Blue Excess from the Type Ia Supernova 2017cbv and Implications for its Progenitor
  • Jiang et al. 2017, Nature, 550, 80: A Hybrid Type Ia Supernova with Early Flash -- The Smoking Gun of Helium-Detonation Trigger
  • Hoeflich et al. 2017, ApJ, 846, 58: Light Curve Properties of Type Ia Supernovae: Theory vs. Observations or Taking the Magic out of CMAGIC, Twins, and other Flukes of Nature
  • Kangas et al. 2017, MNRAS, 469, 1246: Gaia16apd -- a link between fast-and slowly-declining type I superluminous supernovae
  • Thoene et al. 2017, A&A, 599, 129: SN 2015bh: NGC 2770's 4th supernova or a luminous blue variable on its way to a Wolf-Rayet star?
  • Leloudas et al. 2017, ApJ Letters, 837, 14: Polarimetry of the superluminous SN 2015bn with the Nordic Optical Telescope
  • Brown et al. 2017, ApJ, 836, 232: Reddened, Redshifted, or Intrinsically Red? Understanding Near-Ultraviolet Colors of Type Ia supernovae
  • Tartaglia et al. 2017, ApJ Letters, 836, 12: The progenitor and early evolution of the Type IIb SN 2016gkg
  • de Jaeger et al. 2017, ApJ, 835, 166: A Type II Supernova Hubble diagram from the CSP-I, SDSS-II, and SNLS surveys
  • Pian et al. 2017, MNRAS, 466, 1848: Optical photometry and spectroscopy of the low-luminosity, broad-lined Ic supernova iPTF15dld

    2016 (12 refereed papers)
  • Foley et al. 2016, MNRAS, 461, 1308: Ultraviolet Diversity of Type Ia Supernovae
  • Takats et al. 2016, MNRAS, 460, 3447: Optical photometry and spectroscopy of the 1987A-like supernova 2009mw
  • Sand et al. 2016, ApJ Letters, 822L, 16: Post-maximum Near-infrared Spectra of SN 2014J: A Search for Interaction Signatures
  • Cao et al. 2016, ApJ, 823, 147: Absence of Fast-moving Iron in an Intermediate Type Ia Supernova Between Normal and Super-Chandrasekhar
  • Tomasella et al. 2016, MNRAS, 459, 1018: Optical and near infrared observations of SN 2014ck: an outlier among the Type Iax supernovae
  • Valenti et al. 2016, MNRAS, 459, 3939: The Diversity of Type II Supernova vs. The Similarity in Their Progenitors
  • Shappee et al. 2016, ApJ, 826, 144: The Young and Bright Type Ia Supernova ASASSN-14lp: Discovery, Early-Time Observations, First-Light Time, Distance to NGC 4666, and Progenitor Constraints
  • Marion et al. 2016, ApJ, 820, 92: SN 2012cg: Evidence for Interaction Between a Normal Type Ia Supernova and a Non-Degenerate Binary Companiom
  • Drout et al. 2016, ApJ, 821, 57: The Double Peaked SN 2013ge: a Type Ib/c SN with an Early Asymmetric Mass Ejection or an Extended Progenitor Envelope
  • Gutierrez et al. 2016, A&A, 590, 5: Supernova 2010ev: A reddened high velocity gradient type Ia supernova
  • Anderson et al. 2016, A&A, 589, 110: Type II supernovae as probes of environment metallicity: observations of host H-II regions
  • Galbany et al. 2016, AJ, 151, 33: UBVRIz Light Curves of 51 Type II Supernovae

    2015 (24 refereed papers)
  • de Jaeger et al. 2015, ApJ, 815, 121: A Hubble Diagram From Type II Supernovae Based Solely on Photometry: The Photometric-colour Method
  • Barth et al. 2015, ApJS, 217, 26: The Lick AGN Monitoring Project 2011: Sspectroscopic Campaign and Emission-Line Light Curves
  • Leloudas et al. 2015, ApJ Letters, 815, 10: Polarimetry of the superluminous supernova LSQ14MO: No significant deviations from spherical symmetry
  • Smartt et al. 2015, A&A, 579, 40: PESSTO: survey description and products from the first data release by the Public ESO Spectroscopic Survey of Transient Objects
  • Marino et al. 2015, ApJ, 806, 134, Searching For Light Echoes Due To Circumstellar Matter In SNe Ia Spectra
  • Walker et al. 2015, ApJS, 219, 13: First Results from the La Silla-QUEST Supernova Survey and the Carnegie Supernova Project
  • Kurtenkov et al. 2015, A&A Letters, 578L, 10: The Janurary 2015 outburts of a red nova in M31
  • De Jaeger et al. 2015, ApJ, 807, 63: SN 2011A: An Low-luminosity Interacting Transient, with a Double Plateau and Strong Sodium Absorption
  • Pan et al. 2015, MNRAS, 452, 4307: 500 days of SN 2013dy: spectra and photometry from the ultraviolet to the infrared
  • Amanullah et al. 2015, MNRAS, 453, 3300: Diversity in extinction laws of Type Ia supernovae measured between 0.2 and 2 microns
  • Taddia et al. 2015, A&A, accepted: Metallicity at the explosion site of interacting transients
  • Takats et al. 2015, MNRAS, 450, 3137: SN 2009ib: A Type II-P Supernova with an Unusually Long Plateau
  • Hsiao et al. 2015, A&A, 578, 9: Strong near-infrared carbon in the Type Ia supernova iPTF13ebh
  • Pastorello et al. 2015, MNRAS, 449, 1921: Massive stars exploding in a He-rich circumstellar medium. IV. Transitional Type Ibn Supernovae
  • Pastorello et al. 2015, MNRAS, 449, 1954: Massive stars exploding in a He-rich circumstellar medium. VI. Observations of two distant Type Ibn supernova candidates discovered by La Silla-QUEST
  • Valenti et al. 2015, MNRAS, 448, 2608: Supernova 2013by: A Type IIL Supernova with a IIP-like light curve drop
  • Sako et al. 2015, ApJS, in press, astro-ph:1401.3317: The Data Release of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-II Supernova Survey
  • Temim et al. 2015, ApJ, 799, 158: Dust Destruction Rates and Lifetimes in the Magellanic Clouds
  • Taddia et al. 2015, A&A, 574, 60: Early-time light curves of Type Ib/c supernovae from the SDSS-II Supernova Survey
  • Leloudas et al. 2015, A&A, 574, 61: Supernova spectra below strong circumstellar interaction
  • Milisavljevic et al. 2015, ApJ, 799, 51: The Broad-Lined Type Ic SN 2012ap and the Nature of Relativistic Supernovae Lacking a Gamma-ray Burst Detection
  • Fox et al. 2015, MNRAS, 447, 776: On the Nature of Type Ia-CSM Supernovae: Optical and Near-Infrared Spectra of SN 2012ca and SN 2013dn
  • Marion et al. 2015, ApJ, 798, 39: Early Observations and Analysis of the Type Ia SN 2014J In M82
  • Stritzinger et al. 2015, A&A, 573, 2: Comprehensive Observations of the Bright and Energetic Type Iax SN 2012Z: Interpretation as a Chandrasekhar Mass White Dwarf Explosion (as pdf)

  • 2014 (20 refereed publications)
  • Gall et al. 2014, Nature, 511, 326: Rapid formation of large dust grains in the luminous supernova 2010jl
  • Morokuma et al. 2014, PASJ, 66, 114: Kiso Supernova Survey (KISS): Survey Strategy
  • Folatelli et al. 2014, ApJ, 792, 29: Supernovae 2010as: The Lowest-velocity Member of a Family of Flat-velocity Type IIb Supernovae
  • Tanaka et al. 2014, ApJ, 793L, 26: Discovery of Dramatic Optical Variability in SDSS J1100.4421: A Peculiar Radio-loud Narrow-line Seyfert 1 Galaxy?
  • Foley et al. 2014, ApJ, 792, 29: Possible Detection of the Stellar Donor or Remnant for the Type Iax Supernova 2008ha
  • McCully et al. 2014, Nature, 512, 54: A luminous, blue progenitor system for a type-Iax supernova
  • Foley et al. 2014, MNRAS, 443, 2887: Extensive HST Ultraviolet Spectra and Multi-wavelength Observations of SN 2014J in M82 Indicate Reddening and Circumstellar Scattering by Typical Dust
  • Scalzo et al. 2014, MNRAS, 445, 30: Early ultraviolet emission in the Type Ia supernova LSQ12gdj: No evidence for ongoing shock interaction
  • Burns, Stritzinger et al. 2014, ApJ, 789, 32: The Carnegie Supernova Project: Intrinsic Colors Of Type Ia Supernovae
  • Boldt, Stritzinger et al. 2014, PASP, 126, 324: Near-infrared K corrections of Type Ia Supernovae and their errors (as pdf)
  • Anderson et al. 2014, MNRAS, 441, 671: Analysis of blueshifted emission peaks in Type II supernovae (as pdf)
  • Hjorth et al. 2014, ApJ, 782L, 23: Shaping the Dust Mass-Star-formation Rate Relations (as pdf)
  • Dessart et al. 2014, MNRAS, 440, 1856: Type II Plateau supernovae as metallicity probes of the Universe (as pdf)
  • Gutierrez et al. 2014, ApJ, 786L, 15 : Hα Spectral Diversity of Type II Supernovae: Correlations with Photometric Properties (as pdf)
  • Anderson et al. 2014, ApJ, 786, 67: Characterizing the V-band Light-curves of Hydrogen-rich Type II Supernovae (as pdf)
  • Bufano et al. 2014, MNRAS, 439, 1807: SN 2011hs: a fast and faint Type IIb supernova from a supergiant progenitor (as pdf)
  • Takats et al. 2014, MNRAS, 438, 368: SN 2009N: linking normal and subluminous Type II-P SNe (as pdf)
  • Valenti et al. 2014, MNRAS, 437, 1519: PESSTO monitoring of SN 2012hn: further heterogeneity among faint Type I supernovae (as pdf)
  • Margutti et al. 2014, ApJ, 780, 21: A Panchromatic View of the Restless SN 2009ip Reveals the Explosive Ejection of a Massive Star Envelope (as pdf)
  • Stritzinger et al. 2014, A&A, 561, 146: Optical and near-IR observations of the faint and fast 2008ha-like supernova 2010ae (as pdf)

  • 2013 (8 refereed publications)
  • Phillips et al. 2013, ApJ, 779, 38: On the Source of the Dust Extinction in Type Ia Supernovae and the Discovery of Anomalously Strong Na I Absorption (as pdf)
  • Taddia et al. 2013, A&A, 558, 143: A metallicity study of 1987A-like supernova host galaxies (as pdf)
  • Folatelli et al. 2013, ApJ, 773, 53: Spectroscopy of Type Ia Supernovae by the Carnegie Supernova Project (as pdf)
  • Taddia, Stritzinger et al. 2013, A&A, 555, 10: Carnegie Supernova Project: Observations of Type IIn supernovae (as pdf)
  • Milisavljevic et al. 2013, ApJ, 770L, 38: SN 2012au: A Golden Link between Superluminous Supernovae and Their Lower-luminosity Counterparts (as pdf)
  • Childress et al. 2013, ApJ, 770, 29: Spectroscopic Observations of SN 2012fr: A Luminous, Normal Type Ia Supernova with Early High-velocity Features and a Late Velocity Plateau (as pdf)
  • Foley et al. 2013, ApJ, 767, 57: Type Iax Supernovae: A New Class of Stellar Explosion (as pdf)
  • Hsiao et al. 2013, ApJ, 766, 72 : The Earliest Near-infrared Time-series Spectroscopy of a Type Ia Supernova (as pdf)

  • Talks and/or Posters Given During Project Period

  • Talk Supernovae through the ages, international conference, Easter Island, Chile, August 9, 2016, by M. Stritzinger on Carnegie Supernova Project: Stripped-envelope core-collapse supernovae
  • Carnegie SN Ia Progenitor Workshop, Carnegie Observatories, Pasadena, CA, USA, August 05 2016, Talk given by Hsiao on NIR SN Ia spectroscopy
  • Carnegie Supernova Project team meeting, Carnegie Observatories, Pasadena, CA, USA, 31 July to August 2, 2015: Talks given by Gall, Hsiao and Stritzinger
  • European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS) Annual Meeting, La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain, 25 June 2015, "Two in one: intrinsic properties of two fast declining SNe in the same galaxy" by C. Gall (as pdf)
  • European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS) Annual Meeting, La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain, 25 June 2015, "Near-infrared spectroscopy of Type Ia supernovae" by E. Hsiao (as pdf)
  • Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, 06 March 2015, "Type Iax supernovae 2010ae and 2012Z: from the faint and fast to the bright and slow" by M. Stritzinger (as pdf)
  • Stellar Astrophysics Centre, IFA, Aarhus, Denmark, 08 October 2014, "Carnegie Supernova Project" by E. Hsiao (as pdf)
  • Celebrating 10,000 Days of Supernova 1987A, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia, 11-15th August 2014, "Poster: Definitive near-infrared carbon detection in type Ia supernova iPTF13ebh" by E. Hsiao (as pdf)
  • Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 14 July 2014, "Type Iax SNe 2010ae and 2012Z: from the faint and fast to the bright and slow" by M. Stritzinger (as pdf)
  • Carnegie Supernova Project meeting, St. George Island, Flordia, 28 June 2014, "CSP Observations of Stripped Core-collapse supernovae" by M. Stritzinger (as pdf)
  • Carnegie Supernova Project meeting, St. George Island, Flordia, 27 June 2014, "NIR spectra of PTF 13ebh" by E. Hsiao (as pdf)
  • Danish Astronomical Society Board of Director's Meeting, IFA, Aarhus, Denmark, 26 April 2014, "Core-collapse Supernovae: Discovery and follow-up observations" by M. Stritzinger (as pdf)
  • Lecture Series, Univesity of Texas, Austin Texas, 31 March - 05 April 2013, "Dust in the early Universe (3 lectures)" by C. Gall
  • Type Ia supernova workshop, Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies, 10 Feburary 2014, "The Type Iax Supernovae 2010ae and 2012Z" by M. Stritzinger
  • Life Cycle of Dust in the Universe, Taipei Taiwan, 18-22 November 2013, "Sources of dust in the early Universe" by C. Gall (as pdf)
  • Carnegie Supernova Project Workshop, Cooks Branch Conservatory, East Texas, 05 October 2013, "The Type Iax Supernova 2010ae and NIR K-corrections of normal Type Ia SNe" by M. Stritzinger
  • Galaxies meet GRBs, Cabo de Gata, Almeria, Spain, 23-27 September 2013, "Formation and evolution of dust in galaxies" by C. Gall (as pdf)
  • Mitchell Institute workshop on supernova and cosmology, Cooks Branch Conservatory, East Texas, 09 April 13, "NIR K corrections of Type Ia Supernovae" by M. Stritzinger

  • Visitors

  • Francesco Taddia, University of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden: March 2017
  • Joe Lyman, University of Warwick, UK: March 2017
  • Joel Johansson, Wiezmann Institute, IS: Feburary 2017
  • Giorgos Leloudas, Weizmann Institute of Science: Janurary 2017
  • Elena Pian, Un. of Pisa, Italy: June 2016
  • Christopher Ashall, James Moore Un., Liverpool, England: June 2016
  • Paolo Mazzali, James Moore Un., Liverpool, England: June 2016
  • Takashi Moriya, University of Bonn: July 2015
  • Francesco Taddia, University of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden: June 2015
  • Eddie Baron, University of Oklaholma: June 2015
  • Tobias Hinse, Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, Korea: December 2014
  • Francesco Taddia, University of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden: November 2014
  • Francesco Taddia, University of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden: June 2014
  • Gaston Folatelli, IPMU, Tokyo, Japan: June 2014
  • Melina Berstein, IPMU, Tokyo, Japan: June 2014
  • Francesco Taddia, University of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden: September 2013
  • Giorgos Leloudas, Dark Cosmology Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark: May, 2014
  • Stefano Valenti, University of California Santa Barbara, USA: September 2013
  • Jesper Sollerman, University of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden: September 2013