THE CARNEGIE SUPERNOVA PROJECT: ANALYSIS OF THE FIRST SAMPLE OF LOW-REDSHIFT TYPE-Ia SUPERNOVAE
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An analysis of the first set of low-redshift (z < 0.08) Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) monitored by the Carnegie Supernova Project between 2004 and 2006 is presented. The data consist of well-sampled, high-precision optical (ugriBV) and near-infrared (NIR; YJHKs ) light curves in a well-understood photometric system. Methods are described for deriving light-curve parameters, and for building template light curves which are used to fit SN Ia data in the ugriBVYJH bands. The intrinsic colors at maximum light are calibrated using a subsample of supernovae (SNe) assumed to have suffered little or no reddening, enabling color excesses to be estimated for the full sample. The optical-NIR color excesses allow the properties of the reddening law in the host galaxies to be studied. A low average value of the total-to-selective absorption coefficient, RV 1.7, is derived when using the entire sample of SNe. However, when the two highly reddened SNe (SN 2005A and SN 2006X) in the sample are excluded, a value RV 3.2 is obtained, similar to the standard value for the Galaxy. The red colors of these two events are well matched by a model where multiple scattering of photons by circumstellar dust steepens the effective extinction law. The absolute peak magnitudes of the SNe are studied in all bands using a two-parameter linear fit to the decline rates and the colors at maximum light, or alternatively, the color excesses. In both cases, similar results are obtained with dispersions in absolute magnitudes of 0.12-0.16mag, depending on the specific filter-color combination. In contrast to the results obtained from the comparison of the color excesses, these fits of absolute magnitude give RV 1-2 when the dispersion is minimized, even when the two highly reddened SNe are excluded. This discrepancy suggests that, beyond the "normal" interstellar reddening produced in the host galaxies, there is an intrinsic dispersion in the colors of SNe Ia which is correlated with luminosity but independent of the decline rate. Finally, a Hubble diagram for the best-observed subsample of SNe is produced by combining the results of the fits of absolute magnitude versus decline rate and color excess for each filter. The resulting scatter of 0.12 mag appears to be limited by the peculiar velocities of the host galaxies as evidenced by the strong correlation between the distance-modulus residuals observed in the individual filters. The implication is that the actual precision of SNe Ia distances is 3%-4%. 2010. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.