The Foundation Supernova Survey: Measuring Cosmological Parameters with Supernovae from a Single Telescope

D. O. Jones*, D. M. Scolnic, R. J. Foley, A. Rest, R. Kessler, P. M. Challis, K. C. Chambers, D. A. Coulter, K. G. Dettman, M. M. Foley, M. E. Huber, S. W. Jha, E. Johnson, C. D. Kilpatrick, R. P. Kirshner, J. Manuel, G. Narayan, Y. C. Pan, A. G. Riess, A. S.B. SchultzM. R. Siebert, E. Berger, R. Chornock, H. Flewelling, E. A. Magnier, S. J. Smartt, K. W. Smith, R. J. Wainscoat, C. Waters, M. Willman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Measurements of the dark energy equation-of-state parameter, w, have been limited by uncertainty in the selection effects and photometric calibration of z < 0.1 Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). The Foundation Supernova Survey is designed to lower these uncertainties by creating a new sample of z < 0.1 SNe Ia observed on the Pan-STARRS system. Here we combine the Foundation sample with SNe from the Pan-STARRS Medium Deep Survey and measure cosmological parameters with 1338 SNe from a single telescope and a single, well-calibrated photometric system. For the first time, both the low-z and high-z data are predominantly discovered by surveys that do not target preselected galaxies, reducing selection bias uncertainties. The z > 0.1 data include 875 SNe without spectroscopic classifications, and we show that we can robustly marginalize over CC SN contamination. We measure Foundation Hubble residuals to be fainter than the preexisting low-z Hubble residuals by 0.046 ±0.027 mag (stat + sys). By combining the SN Ia data with cosmic microwave background constraints, we find w = -0.938 ±0.053, consistent with ΛCDM. With 463 spectroscopically classified SNe Ia alone, we measure w = -0.933 ±0.061. Using the more homogeneous and better-characterized Foundation sample gives a 55% reduction in the systematic uncertainty attributed to SN Ia sample selection biases. Although use of just a single photometric system at low and high redshift increases the impact of photometric calibration uncertainties in this analysis, previous low-z samples may have correlated calibration uncertainties that were neglected in past studies. The full Foundation sample will observe up to 800 SNe to anchor the LSST and WFIRST Hubble diagrams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 10 2019


  • cosmology: observations
  • dark energy
  • supernovae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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