The variation of the fine structure constant: testing the dipole model with thermonuclear supernovae
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The large-number hypothesis conjectures that fundamental constants may vary. Accordingly, the space-time variation of fundamental constants has been an active subject of research for decades. Recently, using data obtained with large telescopes a phenomenological model in which the fine structure constant might vary spatially has been proposed. We test whether this hypothetical spatial variation of alpha, which follows a dipole law, is compatible with the data of distant thermonuclear supernovae. Unlike previous works, in our calculations we consider not only the variation of the luminosity distance when a varying alpha is adopted, but we also take into account the variation of the peak luminosity of Type Ia supernovae resulting from a variation of alpha. This is done using an empirical relation for the peak bolometric magnitude of thermonuclear supernovae that correctly reproduces the results of detailed numerical simulations. We find that there is no significant difference between the several phenomenological models studied here and the standard one, in which alpha does not vary spatially. We conclude that the present set of data of Type Ia supernovae is not able to distinguish the standard model from the dipole models, and thus cannot be used to discard nor to confirm the proposed spatial variation of alpha.
CitationKraiselburd, L. [et al.]. The variation of the fine structure constant: testing the dipole model with thermonuclear supernovae. "Astrophysics and space science", 01 Maig 2015, vol. 357, núm. 1.