We used the Gaussian Mixture Brightest Cluster Galaxy catalogue and Sloan Digital Sky Survey-II supernovae data with redshifts measured by the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey to identify 48 Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) residing in rich galaxy clusters and compare their properties with 1015 SNe Ia in the field. Their light curves were parametrized by the SALT2 model and the significance of the observed differences was assessed by a resampling technique. To test our samples and methods, we first looked for known differences between SNe Ia residing in active and passive galaxies. We confirm that passive galaxies host SNe Ia with smaller stretch, weaker colour–luminosity relation [β of 2.54(22) against 3.35(14)], and that are ∼0.1 mag more luminous after stretch and colour corrections. We show that only 0.02 per cent of random samples drawn from our set of SNe Ia in active galaxies can reach these values. Reported differences in the Hubble residuals scatter could not be detected, possibly due to the exclusion of outliers. We then show that, while most field and cluster SNe Ia properties are compatible at the current level, their stretch distributions are different (∼3σ): besides having a higher concentration of passive galaxies than the field, the cluster's passive galaxies host SNe Ia with an average stretch even smaller than those in field passive galaxies (at 95 per cent confidence). We argue that the older age of passive galaxies in clusters is responsible for this effect since, as we show, old passive galaxies host SNe Ia with smaller stretch than young passive galaxies (∼4σ).
- supernovae: general
- galaxies: clusters: general