AAS Meeting #193 - Austin, Texas, January 1999
Session 39. Cosmology/Large Scale Structure
Display, Thursday, January 7, 1999, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibits Hall 1

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[39.05] Supernova Limits on the Cosmic Equation of State

P. M. Garnavich, S. Jha, P. M. Challis (CfA), A. Clocchiatti (U.Cat\'olica), A. Diercks (U.Wash.), A. V. Filippenko (UCB), R. L. Gilliland (STScI), C.J. Hogan (U.Wash.), R. P. Kirshner (CfA), B. Leibundgut (ESO), M.M. Phillips (CTIO), D. J. Reiss (U.Wash.), A.G. Riess (UCB), B.P Schmidt (MSSSO), R.A. Schommer (CTIO), R.C. Smith (U.Mich.), J. Spyromilio (ESO), C. Stubbs (U.Wash.), N.B. Suntzeff (CTIO), J. Tonry (U.Hawaii), S.M. Carroll (ITP)

We use Type~Ia supernovae studied by the High-Z Supernova Search Team to constrain the properties of an energy component which may have contributed to accelerating the cosmic expansion. We find that for a flat geometry the equation of state parameter for the unknown component, \alpha\rm x=P\rm x/\rho\rm x, must be less than -0.55 (95% confidence) for any value of \Omega\rm m and is further limited to \alpha\rm x <-0.60 (95%) if \Omega\rm m is assumed to be greater than 0.1 . These values are inconsistent with the unknown component being topological defects such as domain walls, strings, or textures. The supernova data are consistent with a cosmological constant (\alpha\rm x=-1) or a scalar field which has had, on average, an equation of state parameter similar to the cosmological constant value of -1 over the redshift range of z\approx 1 to the present. Supernova and cosmic microwave background observations give complementary constraints on the densities of matter and the unknown component. If only matter and vacuum energy are considered, then the current combined data sets provide direct evidence for a spatially flat Universe with \Omega\rm tot=\Omega\rm m+\Omega\Lambda = 0.94 ± 0.26 (1\sigma).

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