Type Ia supernova discoveries at z > 1 from the hubble space telescope: Evidence for past deceleration and constraints on dark energy evolution

Adam G. Riess*, Louis Gregory Sirolger, John Tonry, Stefano Casertano, Henry C. Ferguson, Bahram Mobasher, Peter Challis, Alexei V. Filippenko, Saurabh Jha, Weidong Li, Ryan Chornock, Robert P. Kirshner, Bruno Leibundgut, Mark Dickinson, Mario Livio, Mauro Giavalisco, Charles C. Steidel, Txitxo Benítez, Zlatan Tsvetanov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3306 Scopus citations


We have discovered 16 Type la supernovae (SNe Ia) with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and have used them to provide the first conclusive evidence for cosmic deceleration that preceded the current epoch of cosmic acceleration. These objects, discovered during the course of the GOODS ACS Treasury program, include 6 of the 7 highest redshift SNe Ia known, all at z > 1.25, and populate the Hubble diagram in unexplored territory. The luminosity distances to these objects and to 170 previously reported SNe Ia have been determined using empirical relations between light-curve shape and luminosity. A purely kinematic interpretation of the SN Ia sample provides evidence at the greater than 99% confidence level for a transition from deceleration to acceleration or, similarly, strong evidence for a cosmic jerk. Using a simple model of the expansion history, the transition between the two epochs is constrained to be at z = 0.46 ± 0.13. The data are consistent with the cosmic concordance model of Ω M ≈ 0.3, Ω Λ ≈ 0.7 (χ dof 2 = 1.06) and are inconsistent with a simple model of evolution or dust as an alternative to dark energy. For a flat universe with a cosmological constant, we measure Ω M = 0.29± 0.03 0.05 (equivalently, Ω Λ = 0.71). When combined with external flat-universe constraints, including the cosmic microwave background and large-scale structure, we find w = -1.02± 0.19 0.13 (and w < -0.76 at the 95% confidence level) for an assumed static equation of state of dark energy, P = wpc 2. Joint constraints on both the recent equation of state of dark energy, w 0, and its time evolution, dw/dz, are a factor of ∼8 more precise than the first estimates and twice as precise as those without the SNe Ia discovered with HST. Our constraints are consistent with the static nature of and value of w expected for a cosmological constant (i.e., W 0 = -1.0, dw/dz = 0) and are inconsistent with very rapid evolution of dark energy. We address consequences of evolving dark energy for the fate of the universe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-687
Number of pages23
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004


  • Cosmology: Observations
  • Distance scale
  • Galaxies: Distances and redshifts
  • Supernovae: General

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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