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Current and Future of Microlensing Exoplanet Search

  • Takahiro Sumi (a1)

Abstract

Gravitational microlensing has a unique sensitivity to exoplanets at outside of the snow-line with masses down to the Earth-mass. Because of the rarity and short timescale of the planetary signal, the survey groups, MOA-II in New Zealand and OGLE-IV in Chile carry out the wide field survey observation towards the galactic bulge to issue alerts in real time. Then telescopes of the follow-up groups conduct high cadence follow-up observation to get dense sampling of the short planetary signal. Recent high cadence survey observations by MOA-II and OGLE-IV have started to find exoplanets without follow-up observation systematically. This is a transition to the next generation 24-hour high cadence survey network which can reveal the mass function of exoplanets down to Earth-mass outside of the snow-line. The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is the highest ranked recommendation for a large space mission in the recent New Worlds, New Horizons (NWNH) in Astronomy and Astrophysics 2010 Decadal Survey. Exoplanet microlensing program is one of the primary science of WFIRST. WFIRST will find about 2,000 bound planets and 1,000 unbound planets by the high precision continuous survey with 15 min. cadence. WFIRST can complete the statistical census of planetary systems in the Galaxy, from the outer habitable zone to gravitationally unbound planets – a discovery space inaccessible to other exoplanet detection techniques.

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