The Nearest Standard Candle Supernova in Several Decades

Supernova 2014J in the nearby galaxy Messier 82 (less than 12 million light-years away) exploded on January 14, 2014 and was the closest ”standard candle” supernova in four decades. Together with people in the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) and Spitzer Infrared Intensive Transients Survey (SPIRITS), I have worked on a number of interesting papers on this event.

In Goobar et al. 2014, we provide important new clues into the nature of the class of stellar explosions, known as Type Ia supernovae, over a very wide wavelength range, starting just hours after the deduced explosion time. A better understanding of the physics behind Type Ia supernovae, circumstellar material surrounding the explosion and dimming of the light by dust is crucial to further refine the measurements of the expansion history of the Universe.

SN 2014J, gave us a unique opportunity to study both the properties of the supernova explosion itself but also of the intervening dust. In Amanullah et. al (2014) and Johansson et. al (2014) we use the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes to pin down the dust extinction along the line-of-sight and put tight limits on any circumstellar dust.

Composite image from the 2.5-meter Nordic Optical Telescope in La Palma showing SN2014J in the dusty cigar galaxy M82 (credits: J. Johansson).
The closest supernova of its kind to be observed in the last few decades has sparked a global observing campaign involving legions of instruments on the ground and in space, including NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Carnegie Institution for Science)

Papers on SN 2014J:

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