We present extensive optical (UBVRI), near-infrared (JK) light curves and optical spectroscopy of the Type Ia supernova SN 2006X in the nearby galaxy NGC 4321 (M100). Our observations suggest that either SN 2006X has an intrinsically peculiar color evolution or it is highly reddened [E(B − V)host = 1.42 ± 0.04 mag ] with RV = 1.48 ± 0.06, much lower than the canonical value of 3.1 for the average Galactic dust. SN 2006X also has one of the highest expansion velocities ever published for an SN Ia. Compared with the other SNe Ia we analyzed, SN 2006X has a broader light curve in the U band, a more prominent bump/shoulder feature in the V and R bands, a more pronounced secondary maximum in the I and NIR bands, and a remarkably smaller late-time decline rate in the B band. The B − V color evolution shows an obvious deviation from the Lira-Phillips relation at 1-3 months after maximum brightness. At early times, optical spectra of SN 2006X displayed strong, high-velocity features of both intermediate-mass elements (Si, Ca, and S) and iron peak elements, while at late times they showed a relatively blue continuum, consistent with the blue U − B and B − V colors at similar epochs. A light echo and/or the interaction of the SN ejecta and its circumstellar material may provide a plausible explanation for its late-time photometric and spectroscopic behavior. Using the Cepheid distance of M100, we derive a Hubble constant of 72.8 ± 8.2 km s−1 Mpc−1 (statistical) from the normalized dereddened luminosity of SN 2006X. We briefly discuss whether abnormal dust is a universal signature for all SNe Ia and whether the most rapidly expanding objects form a subclass with distinct photometric and spectroscopic properties.
The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 675(1):626. DOI:10.1086/526413 · 6.28 Impact Factor