Received; accepted Abstract. Microlensing searches aim to detect compact halo dark matter via its gravitational lensing effect on stars within the Large Magellanic Cloud. These searches have led to the claim that roughly one fifth of the galactic halo dark matter may be in the form of compact, solar-mass objects. We analyze this hypothesis by considering the goodness-of-fit of the best-fit halo dark matter solutions to the observational data. We show that the distribution of the durations of the observed microlensing events is significantly narrower than that expected to result from a standard halo lens population at 90 to 95 % confidence, casting doubt on the lenses constituting halo dark matter. This conclusion may possibly be avoided if (i) the Milky Way halo is sufficiently nonstandard or (ii) a large fraction of the events are due to non-halo populations with event durations coincidentally close to those of the putative halo population or (iii) individual event durations have been seriously underestimated due to blending. Key words. Galaxy: halo – dark matter 1
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