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Supernova Cosmology

About a decade ago cosmologists made the ground breaking discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. By observing type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) it is possible to track the expansion history of the cosmos by relating the redshift of these "standard candles" to their luminosity as a measure of distance. According to this, distant supernovae appear dimmer than expected for constant expansion. This observational result can thus be explained by an increase of the cosmic expansion rate. The reason for it is currently one of the great unknowns in physics. The question as whether some form of "dark energy" is responsible can be adressed by observations such as the Nearby Supernova Factory. The goal of the project is to collect photometric and spectral SN data of unprecedented precision using an integral field unit spectrograph (IFU). This data will be used to probe the cosmological standard model with highest accuracy.

The group's activities focus on:

  • Investigation of possible density and/or dark energy fluctuations in the universe using supernova data.  
  • Design of a photometric calibration system for the SNIFS field spectrograph.
  • Simulation and analysis of SN Ia data.