Detecting Extrasolar Asteroid Belts Through Their Microlensing Signatures
Lake et al
We propose that extrasolar asteroid belts can be detected through their gravitational microlensing signatures. Asteroid belt + star lens systems create so-called "pseudo-caustics", regions in the source plane where the magnification exhibits a finite but discontinuous jump. These features allow such systems to generate distinctive microlensing light curves across a wide region of belt parameter space and possess remarkably large lensing cross-sections. Sample light curves for a range of asteroid belt parameters are presented. In the near future, space-based microlensing surveys (e.g., WFIRST) may be able to discover extrasolar asteroid belts with masses of the order of 0.1M⊕.