Journal Article

Supernova tests of the timescape cosmology

Peter R. Smale and David L. Wiltshire

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 413, issue 1, pages 367-385
Published in print May 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Supernova tests of the timescape cosmology

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The timescape cosmology has been proposed as a viable alternative to homogeneous cosmologies with dark energy. It realizes cosmic acceleration as an apparent effect that arises in calibrating average cosmological parameters in the presence of spatial curvature and gravitational energy gradients that grow large with the growth of inhomogeneities at late epochs. Recently Kwan, Francis and Lewis have claimed that the timescape model provides a relatively poor fit to the Union and Constitution supernovae compilations, as compared to the standard Λ cold dark matter (ΛCDM) model. We show this conclusion is a result of systematic issues in supernova light-curve fitting, and of failing to exclude data below the scale of statistical homogeneity, z≲ 0.033. Using all currently available supernova data sets (Gold07, Union, Constitution, MLCS17, MLCS31, SDSS-II, CSP, Union2), and making cuts at the statistical homogeneity scale, we show that data reduced by the SALT/SALT-II (Spectral Adaptive Light curve Template) fitters provide Bayesian evidence that favours the spatially flat ΛCDM model over the timescape model, whereas data reduced with MLCS2k2 fitters give Bayesian evidence which favours the timescape model over the ΛCDM model. We discuss the questions of extinction and reddening by dust, and of intrinsic colour variations in supernovae which do not correlate with the decay time, and the likely impact these systematics would have in a scenario consistent with the timescape model.

Keywords: cosmological parameters; cosmology: observations; cosmology: theory

Journal Article.  17433 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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