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Supernova 2005hj

Title: SN 2005hj: Evidence for Two Classes of Normal-Bright SNe Ia and Implications for Cosmology
Authors: Robert Quimby, Peter Höflich, J. Craig Wheeler

HET Optical spectra covering the evolution from about 6 days before to about 5 weeks after maximum light and the ROTSE-IIIb unfiltered light curve of the "Branch-normal" Type Ia Supernova SN 2005hj are presented. The host galaxy shows HII region lines at redshift of z=0.0574, which puts the peak unfiltered absolute magnitude at a somewhat over-luminous -19.6. The spectra show weak and narrow SiII lines, and for a period of at least 10 days beginning around maximum light these profiles do not change in width or depth and they indicate a constant expansion velocity of ~10,600 km/s. We analysed the observations based on detailed radiation dynamical models in the literature. Whereas delayed detonation and deflagration models have been used to explain the majority of SNe Ia, they do not predict a long velocity plateau in the SiII minimum with an unvarying line profile. Pulsating delayed detonations and merger scenarios form shell-like density structures with properties mostly related to the mass of the shell, M_shell, and we discuss how these models may explain the observed SiII line evolution; however, these models are based on spherical calculations and other possibilities may exist. SN 2005hj is consistent with respect to the onset, duration, and velocity of the plateau, the peak luminosity and, within the uncertainties, with the intrinsic colours for models with M_shell=0.2 M_sun. Our analysis suggests a distinct class of events hidden within the Branch-normal SNe Ia. If the predicted relations between observables are confirmed, they may provide a way to separate these two groups. We discuss the implications of two distinct progenitor classes on cosmological studies employing SNe Ia, including possible differences in the peak luminosity to light curve width relation.

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