Local Universe Supernova Rates from the Palomar Transient Factory
Transient and Time Domain Astronomy: Robotic telescopes, surveys and the evolution of transient phenomena
Christopher Frohmaier
University of Southampton
Mark Sullivan (Uni. of Southampton), Peter Nugent (U.C. Berkeley)
We present new results on the volumetric rate of type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) in the local universe measured using the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF). PTF was an automated optical sky survey designed for transient discovery that spectroscopically confirmed 1800 supernovae over 2009-2012. With a 3-5 day observing cadence providing untargeted scans of the night sky, the PTF dataset is the perfect playground for a supernova rate calculation. We use three years of PTF data to construct a representative simulation of the survey in which we place Monte Carlo-ed explosions onto an artificial night sky. We re-run the survey to observe this sky, and compare the simulation results to the actual performance of PTF to weight the real supernovae, accounting for incompleteness in determining population numbers. We use this technique to calculate the most precise volumetric SN Ia rate to date, and show that it is about 30% lower than previous estimates.


16:30 - 18:00
BS - Lecture Theatre A25 (121)