Underluminous 1991bg-like Type Ia supernovae are standardizable candles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Downloads (Pure)


It is widely accepted that the width-luminosity relation used to standardize normal Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) breaks down in underluminous, 1991bg-like SNe Ia. This breakdown may be due to the choice of parameter used as a stand-in for the width of the SN Ia light curve. Using the colour stretch parameter sBV instead of older parameters resolves this issue. Here, I assemble a sample of 14 nearby 1991bg-like SNe Ia from the literature, all of which have independent host-galaxy distance moduli and little to no reddening. I use Gaussian process regression to fit the light curves of these SNe in U/u, B, V, g, R/r, I/i, and H, and measure their peak absolute magnitudes. I find statistically significant (>5σ confidence level in the optical and >4σ in the near-infrared) correlations between the peak absolute magnitudes of the 1991bg-like SNe Ia and their sBV values in the range 0.2 < sBV < 0.6. These correlations are broadly consistent with fits to sBV < 0.7 SNe Ia with preliminary B- and V-band peak absolute magnitudes from the Carnegie Supernova Project and significantly inconsistent with similar fits to normal and transitional SNe Ia (with 0.7 < sBV < 1.1). The underluminous width-luminosity relation shown here needs to be properly calibrated with a homogeneous sample of 1991bg-like SNe Ia, after which it could be used as a rung on a new cosmological distance ladder. With surface-brightness fluctuations (or another non-Cepheid method) used to calibrate distances to nearby 1991bg-like SNe Ia, such a ladder could produce an independent measurement of the Hubble-Lemaître Constant, H0.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4950-4960
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date11 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024


  • astro-ph.HE
  • astro-ph.CO
  • methods: distance scale
  • supernovae: general

Cite this