Discovery of a Very Bright, Nearby Gravitational Microlensing Event

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Title: Discovery of a Very Bright, Nearby Gravitational Microlensing Event
Creators: Gaudi, B. Scott; Patterson, Joseph; Spiegel, David S.; Krajci, Thomas; Koff, R.; Pojmański, G.; Dong, Subo; Gould, Andrew; Prieto, Jose L.; Blake, Cullen H.; Roming, Peter W. A.; Bennett, David P.; Bloom, Joshua S.; Boyd, David; Eyler, Michael E.; de Ponthière, Pierre; Mirabal, N.; Morgan, Christopher W.; Remillard, Ronald R.; Vanmunster, T.; Wagner, R. Mark; Watson, Linda C.
Keywords: gravitational lensing
stars: individual (GSC 3656–1328)
Issue Date: 2008-04-20
Publisher: American Astronomical Society
Citation: B. Scott Gaudi et al, "Discovery of a Very Bright, Nearby Gravitational Microlensing Event," The Astrophysical Journal 677, no. 2 (2008), doi:10.1086/529482
DOI: 10.1086/529482
Abstract: We report the serendipitous detection of a very bright, very nearby microlensing event. In late 2006 October, an otherwise unremarkable A0 star at a distance of ~1 kpc (GSC 3656–1328) brightened achromatically by a factor of nearly 40 over the span of several days and then decayed in an apparently symmetrical way. We present a light curve of the event based on optical photometry from the Center for Backyard Astrophysics and the All Sky Automated Survey, as well as near-infrared photometry from the Peters Automated Infrared Imaging Telescope. This light curve is well fit by a generic microlensing model. We also report optical spectra and Swift X-ray and UV observations that are consistent with the microlensing interpretation. We discuss and reject alternative explanations for this variability. The lens star is probably a low-mass star or brown dwarf, with a relatively high proper motion of >~ 20 mas yr^−1, and may be visible using precise optical/infrared imaging taken several years from now. A modest, all-sky survey telescope could detect ~10 such events per year, which would enable searches for very low mass planetary companions to relatively nearby stars.
ISSN: 1538-4357
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