EDP Sciences
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Volume 368, Number 2, March III 2001
Page(s) 391 - 397
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20000104

A&A 368, 391-397 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20000104

The brightness of SN 1991T and the uniformity of decline-rate and colour corrected absolute magnitudes of supernovae Ia

T. Richtler1, J. B. Jensen2, J. Tonry3, B. Barris3 and G. Drenkhahn4

1  Universidad de Concepción, Departamento de Física, Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile
2  Gemini Observatory, 670 N. Aòhoku Place Hilo, HI 96720, USA
    e-mail: jjensen@gemini.edu
3  Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
4  Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Postfach 1317, 85741 Garching bei München, Germany
    e-mail: georg@mpa-garching.mpg.de

(Received 7 August 2000 / Accepted 14 November 2000)

We present a distance to NGC 4527, the host galaxy of the type Ia SN 1991T, measured by surface brightness fluctuations. This supernova has been labelled "peculiar"both on the grounds of its spectroscopic behaviour and its apparent overluminosity with respect to other supernovae. The distance modulus to NGC 4527 and thus to SN 1991T is $30.26\pm0.09$. This relatively short distance largely removes the discrepancy with other Ia supernovae having similar light-curve characteristics and also removes the motivation for interpreting SN 1991T as a super-Chandrasekhar explosion. However, the reddening uncertainty results in significant uncertainty of the absolute magnitudes. We show further that, although the intrinsic absolute magnitudes among Ia supernovae are quite different, their brightness, corrected for decline-rate and colour, shows a high degree of uniformity, including underluminous events like SN 1991bg and SN 1997cn. In particular, the present data do not support a significant difference between corrected SNe Ia luminosities in late-type and early-type host galaxies.

Key words: supernovae: general -- supernovae: individual: SN 1991T -- galaxies: individual: NGC 4527 -- distance scale

Offprint request: T. Richtler, tom@coma.cfm.udec.cl

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