Connecting Infrared Surface Brightness Fluctuation Distances to Type Ia Supernova Hosts: Testing the Top Rung of the Distance Ladder

Peter Garnavich, Charlotte M. Wood, Peter Milne, Joseph B. Jensen, John P. Blakeslee, Peter J. Brown, Daniel Scolnic, Benjamin Rose, Dillon Brout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We compare infrared surface brightness fluctuation (IR SBF) distances measured in galaxies that have hosted type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) to distances estimated from SNe Ia light-curve fits. We show that the properties of the SNe Ia found in IR SBF hosts are very different from those exploding in Cepheid calibrators, therefore this is a direct test of systematic uncertainties on the estimation of the Hubble constant (H 0) using SNe. The IR SBF results from Jensen et al. provide a large and uniformly measured sample of IR SBF distances which we directly compare with the distances to 25 SN Ia host galaxies. We divide the Hubble flow SNe Ia into subsamples that best match the divergent SN properties seen in the IR SBF hosts and Cepheid hosts. We further divide the SNe Ia into a sample with light-curve widths and host masses that are congruent to those found in the SBF-calibrated hosts. We refit the light-curve stretch and color correlations with luminosity, and use these revised parameters to calibrate a sample of “Hubble flow” SNe Ia with IR SBF calibrators. Relative to the Hubble flow sample, the average calibrator distance moduli vary by 0.03 mag depending on the SN Ia subsample examined and this adds a 1.8% systematic uncertainty to our Hubble constant estimate. Based on the IRSBF calibrators, H 0 = 74.6 ± 0.9(stat) ± 2.7(syst) km s−1 Mpc−1, which is consistent with the Hubble constant derived from SNe Ia calibrated from Cepheid variables. We conclude that IR SBFs provide reliable calibration of SNe Ia with a precision comparable to Cepheid calibrators, and with a significant saving in telescope time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number35
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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