Carnegie hubble program: A mid-infrared calibration of the Hubble constant

Wendy L. Freedman, Barry F. Madore, Victoria Scowcroft, Chris Burns, Andy Monson, S. Eric Persson, Mark Seibert, Jane Rigby

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Using a mid-infrared calibration of the Cepheid distance scale based on recent observations at 3.6μm with the Spitzer Space Telescope, we have obtained a new, high-accuracy calibration of the Hubble constant. We have established the mid-IR zero point of the Leavitt law (the Cepheid period-luminosity relation) using time-averaged 3.6μm data for 10 high-metallicity, Milky Way Cepheids having independently measured trigonometric parallaxes. We have adopted the slope of the PL relation using time-averaged 3.6μm data for 80 long-period Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) Cepheids falling in the period range 0.8 < log(P) < 1.8. We find a new reddening-corrected distance to the LMC of 18.477 ±0.033 (systematic) mag. We re-examine the systematic uncertainties in H 0, also taking into account new data over the past decade. In combination with the new Spitzer calibration, the systematic uncertainty in H 0 over that obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project has decreased by over a factor of three. Applying the Spitzer calibration to the Key Project sample, we find a value of H 0 = 74.3 with a systematic uncertainty of ±2.1 (systematic) kms -1Mpc-1, corresponding to a 2.8% systematic uncertainty in the Hubble constant. This result, in combination with WMAP7 measurements of the cosmic microwave background anisotropies and assuming a flat universe, yields a value of the equation of state for dark energy, w 0 = -1.09 ±0.10. Alternatively, relaxing the constraints on flatness and the numbers of relativistic species, and combining our results with those of WMAP7, Type Ia supernovae and baryon acoustic oscillations yield w 0 = -1.08 ±0.10 and a value of N eff = 4.13 ±0.67, mildly consistent with the existence of a fourth neutrino species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number24
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 10 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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