Testing distance estimators with the fundamental manifold

Dennis Zaritsky, Ann I. Zabludoff, Anthony H. Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We demonstrate how the Fundamental Manifold (FM) can be used to cross-calibrate distance estimators even when those "standard candles" are not found in the same galaxy. Such an approach greatly increases the number of distance measurements that can be utilized to check for systematic distance errors and the types of estimators that can be compared. Here we compare distances obtained using Type Ia supernova (SN Ia), Cepheids, surface brightness fluctuations, the luminosity of the tip of the red giant branch, circumnuclear masers, eclipsing binaries, RR Lyrae stars, and the planetary nebulae luminosity functions. We find no significant discrepancies (differences are <2σ) between distance methods, although differences at the 10% level cannot yet be ruled out. The potential exists for significant refinement because the data used here are heterogeneous B-band magnitudes that will soon be supplanted by homogeneous, near-infrared magnitudes. We illustrate the use of FM distances to (1) revisit the question of the metallicity sensitivity of various estimators, confirming the dependence of SN Ia distances on host galaxy metallicity, and (2) provide an alternative calibration of H 0 that replaces the classical ladder approach in the use of extragalactic distance estimators with one that utilizes data over a wide range of distances simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 20 2012


  • distance scale
  • galaxies: distances and redshifts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Testing distance estimators with the fundamental manifold'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this