CfA OIR Division Lunch Talks
Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 11:00 am, Phillips Auditorium
Thesis Talk, note change of venue

CfAIR2: Infrared Observations of
~100 Type Ia Supernovae with PAIRITEL
Andrew Friedman
PhD Thesis Talk, Harvard University Department of Astronomy

While the discovery of dark energy and most subsequent supernova cosmology has been performed using optical wavelength observations of Type Ia Supernovae (SN Ia), a growing body of evidence suggests that Near-Infrared (NIR) SN Ia observations will be crucial for future cosmological studies. Whereas SN Ia observed at optical wavelengths have been shown to be excellent standardizeable candles, using empirical correlations between luminosity, light curve shape, and color, the CfAIR2 data set strengthens the evidence that SN Ia at NIR wavelengths are essentially standard candles, even without correction for light-curve shape or for reddening. CfAIR2 includes ~9000 near-Infrared (NIR) JHKs-band measurements of ~100 SN Ia observed from 2005-2011 using PAIRITEL, the 1.3-m Peters Automated InfraRed Imaging TELescope at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO) on Mount Hopkins, Arizona. CfAIR2 was obtained as part of the CfA Supernova Program, an ongoing multi-wavelength follow-up effort at FLWO designed to observe high-quality, densely sampled light curves and spectra of hundreds of low-redshift SN Ia. CfAIR2 is the largest homogeneously observed and processed NIR data set of its kind to date, more than tripling the number of individual observations, nearly doubling the set of well-sampled NIR SN Ia light curves, and matched only by the recently published Carnegie Supernova Project sample. CfAIR2 complements the large and growing set of low-redshift optical and NIR SN Ia observations obtained by the CfA and other programs, making this data set a unique and particularly valuable local universe anchor for future supernova cosmology.