NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2003B-0363

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Proposal Information for 2003B-0363


PI: Nicholas Suntzeff, NOAO/CTIO, nsuntzeff@noao.edu
Address: CTIO, Casilla 603, La Serena, Chile

CoI: R. Chris Smith, NOAO/CTIO
CoI: Brian Schmidt, MSSSO
CoI: Chris Stubbs, University of Washington
CoI: Robert Kirshner, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Alexei V. Filippenko, University of California, Berkeley
CoI: Peter M. Garnavich, Notre Dame University
CoI: Adam G. Riess, Space Telescope Science Institute
CoI: John L. Tonry, University of Hawaii
CoI: Kevin Krisciunas, NOAO/CTIO
CoI: Alejandro Clocchiatti, Universidad Catolica de Chile
CoI: Bruno Leibundgut, European Southern Observatory
CoI: Jason Spyromilio, European Southern Observatory
CoI: Brian Barris, University of Hawaii
CoI: Weidong Li, University of California, Berkeley
CoI: Gajus Miknaitis, University of Washington
CoI: Stephen Holland, Notre Dame University
CoI: Saurabh Jha, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Tom Matheson, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Jesper Sollerman, European Southern Observatory
CoI: Peter Challis, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Stephen Pompea, NOAO
CoI: Andrew Becker, Lucent/Bell Labs
CoI: Armin Rest, University of Washington

Title: ESSENCE/w Project: Measuring the Equation of State of Dark Energy

Abstract: We have been granted time through the NOAO Survey program to find and follow ~200 Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) with the MOSAIC Imager on the Blanco 4-m over a five-year period (2002B-2006B). Gemini resources, which are not covered by the NOAO Survey program, are needed to provide the critical spectroscopic classifications of the SNe Ia. Our survey is designed to find supernovae distributed evenly over the redshift range [0.15, 0.75]. We aim to answer a simple, but very important, question: is the dark energy of the universe consistent with a cosmological constant (w=-1)? If not, this means the dark energy must be a more general energy field such as ``quintessence.'' The proposed Gemini GMOS spectra will sort the SNe Ia from other SNe, hypernovae, and AGN, and we will be able to measure accurate supernova rates as a function of lookback time to almost half the age of the universe. For some core-collapse SNe, we will be able to derive distances through the expanding photosphere method, a critical cross- check for the distance methods. The spectral classifications will be announced immediately to allow other teams to monitor the SNe discovered.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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