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A Uniform Type Ia Supernova Distance Ladder with the Zwicky Transient Facility: Absolute Calibration Based on the Tip of the Red Giant Branch Method

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  • Suhail Dhawan
  • Ariel Goobar
  • Joel Johansson
  • In Sung Jang
  • Mickael Rigault
  • Luke Harvey
  • Kate Maguire
  • Wendy L. Freedman
  • Barry F. Madore
  • Jesper Sollerman
  • Igor Andreoni
  • Eric C. Bellm
  • Michael W. Coughlin
  • Richard Dekany
  • Matthew J. Graham
  • Shrinivas R. Kulkarni
  • Russ R. Laher
  • Michael S. Medford
  • James D. Neill
  • Guy Nir
  • Reed Riddle
  • Ben Rusholme
Article number185
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/08/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>The Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Number of pages8
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The current Cepheid-calibrated distance ladder measurement of H 0 is reported to be in tension with the values inferred from the cosmic microwave background (CMB), assuming standard cosmology. However, some tip of the red giant branch (TRGB) estimates report H 0 in better agreement with the CMB. Hence, it is critical to reduce systematic uncertainties in local measurements to understand the Hubble tension. In this paper, we propose a uniform distance ladder between the second and third rungs, combining Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) observed by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) with a TRGB calibration of their absolute luminosity. A large, volume-limited sample of both calibrator and Hubble flow SNe Ia from the same survey minimizes two of the largest sources of systematics: host-galaxy bias and nonuniform photometric calibration. We present results from a pilot study using the existing TRGB distance to the host galaxy of ZTF SN Ia SN 2021rhu (aka ZTF21abiuvdk) in NGC7814. Combining the ZTF calibrator with a volume-limited sample from the first data release of ZTF Hubble flow SNe Ia, we infer H 0 = 76.94 ± 6.4 km s−1 Mpc−1, an 8.3% measurement. The error budget is dominated by the single object calibrating the SN Ia luminosity in this pilot study. However, the ZTF sample includes already five other SNe Ia within ∼20 Mpc for which TRGB distances can be obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope. Finally, we present the prospects of building this distance ladder out to 80 Mpc with James Webb Space Telescope observations of more than 100 ZTF SNe Ia.