We present first-season infrared (IR) and optical photometry and spectroscopy of the Type Ia Supernova 1998bu in M96. We also report optical polarimetry of this event. SN 1998bu is one of the closest type Ia supernovae of modern times, and the distance of its host galaxy is well determined. We find that SN 1998bu is both photometrically and spectroscopically normal. However, the extinction to this event is unusually high, with A(V) = 1.0 +/- 0.11. We find that SN 1998bu peaked at an intrinsic M-V = -19.37 +/- 0.23. Adopting a distance modulus of 30.25 (Tanvir et al.) and using Phillips et al.'s relations for the Hubble constant, we obtain H-0 = 70.4 +/- 4.3 km s(-1) Mpc(-1). Combination of our IR photometry with those of Jha et al. provides one of the most complete early-phase IR light curves for a SN Ia published so far. In particular, SN 1998bu is the first normal SN Ia for which good pre-t(Bmax) IR coverage has been obtained. It reveals that the J, H and K light curves peak about 5 days earlier than the flux in the B-band curve.
- Space and Planetary Science