Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Detecting Micro Lensing of Free Floating Planets

Microlensing by Kuiper, Oort, and Free-Floating Planets




Microlensing is generally thought to probe planetary systems only out to a few Einstein radii. Microlensing events generated by bound planets beyond about 10 Einstein radii generally do not yield any trace of their hosts, and so would be classified as free floating planets (FFPs). I show that it is already possible, using adaptive optics (AO), to constrain the presence of potential hosts to FFP candidates at separations comparable to the Oort Cloud. With next-generation telescopes, planets at Kuiper-Belt separations can be probed. Next generation telescopes will also permit routine vetting for all FFP candidates, simply by obtaining second epochs 4-8 years after the event. At present, the search for such hosts is restricted to within the "confusion limit" of theta_confus ~ 250 mas, but future WFIRST observations will allow one to probe beyond this confusion limit as well.

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