Stress testing the dark energy equation of state imprint on supernova data

Ben Moews, Rafael S. de Souza, Emille E. O. Ishida, Alex I. Malz, Caroline Heneka, Ricardo Vilalta, Joe Zuntz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work determines the degree to which a standard Lambda-CDM analysis based on type Ia supernovae can identify deviations from a cosmological constant in the form of a redshift-dependent dark energy equation of state w(z). We introduce and apply a novel random curve generator to simulate instances of w(z) from constraint families with increasing distinction from a cosmological constant. After producing a series of mock catalogs of binned type Ia supernovae corresponding to each w(z) curve, we perform a standard Lambda-CDM analysis to estimate the corresponding posterior densities of the absolute magnitude of type Ia supernovae, the present-day matter density, and the equation of state parameter. Using the Kullback-Leibler divergence between posterior densities as a difference measure, we demonstrate that a standard type Ia supernova cosmology analysis has limited sensitivity to extensive redshift dependencies of the dark energy equation of state. In addition, we report that larger redshift-dependent departures from a cosmological constant do not necessarily manifest easier-detectable incompatibilities with the Lambda-CDM model. Our results suggest that physics beyond the standard model may simply be hidden in plain sight.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical Review D, particles, fields, gravitation, and cosmology
Issue number12-15
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2019


  • astro-ph.CO
  • astro-ph.IM
  • stat.AP
  • stat.CO
  • 85A40, 62P35, 68W20


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