1,858 research outputs found

    Early Estimation of Microlensing Event Magnifications

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    Gravitational microlensing events with high peak magnifications provide a much enhanced sensitivity to the detection of planets around the lens star. However, estimates of peak magnification during the early stages of an event by means of chi^2 minimization frequently involve an overprediction, making observing campaigns with strategies that rely on these predictions inefficient. I show that a rudimentary Bayesian formulation, incorporating the known statistical characteristics of a detection system, produces much more accurate predictions of peak magnification than chi^2 minimisation. Implementation of this system will allow efficient follow-up observing programs that focus solely on events that contribute to planetary abundance statistics.Comment: Accepted by ApJ. 19 pages, incl 7 figures and 2 table

    The Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment. Red Clump Stars as a Distance Indicator

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    We present relation of the mean I-band brightness of red clump stars on metallicity. Red clump stars were proposed to be a very attractive standard candle for distance determination. The calibration is based on 284 nearby red giant stars whose high quality spectra allowed to determine accurate individual metal abundances. High quality parallaxes (\sigma_\pi / \pi < 10%) and photometry of these very bright stars come from Hipparcos measurements. Metallicity of the sample covers a large range: -0.6<[Fe/H]<+0.2 dex. We find a weak dependence of the mean I-band brightness on metallicity (about 0.13 mag/dex). What is more important, the range of metallicity of the Hipparcos sample partially overlaps with metallicity of field giants in the LMC, thus making it possible to determine the distance to the LMC by almost direct comparison of brightness of the local Hipparcos red clump giants with that of LMC stars. Photometry of field red clump giants in nine low extinction fields of the LMC halo collected during the OGLE-II microlensing survey compared with the Hipparcos red clump stars data yields the distance modulus to the LMC: (m-M)_LMC=18.24+/-0.08 mag.Comment: 11 pages. Latex+psfig. Accepted for publictation in ApJ Letters. Major revision: 30% larger sample of Hipparcos red giants with spectroscopic metallicities and extended photometry of the LMC field red clump stars (9 lines-of-sight). Due to journal space limitation, sections on comparison of the LMC red clump distance modulus with previous determinations and relations between the color indices and metallicity removed from this versio

    Eclipsing Binaries in the OGLE Variable Star Catalog.III. Long-Period Contact Systems

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    A sample of contact binaries discovered by the OGLE project in Baade's Window, with orbital periods longer than one day and with available color and light-curve data, has been analyzed. It consists of only 32 systems, in contrast to 388 WUMa-type systems with shorter periods which were analyzed before. Most systems are very distant and are probably located close to or in the galactic Bulge. Two groups of contact binaries are seen in the sample: (1) a continuation of the WUMa-type sequence, extending up to the orbital periods of 1.3 - 1.5 day, but rather sharply ending in this period range; (2) an inhomogeneous group of rare systems with long periods up to 26 days, all with red colors and relatively shallow eclipses. While the systems of the first group share most of the characteristics of the typical WUMa-type systems (except that they are on the average brighter and more distant, hence more reddened), the long-period systems do not seem to form an early-type extension of contact binaries, but may consist of a mixture of late-type objects, including tidally distorted red giants with invisible companions.Comment: 24 pages including 10 figures (inserted with psfig) and one table; submitted to A

    Search for Planetary Candidates within the OGLE Stars

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    We propose a method to distinguish between planetary and stellar companions to stars which present a periodic decrease in brightness, interpreted as a transit. Light curves from a total of 177 stars from the OGLE project were fitted by the model which simulates planetary transits using an opaque disk in front of an image of the Sun. The simulation results yield the orbital radius in units of stellar radii, the orbital inclination angle, and the ratio of the planet to the star radii. Combining Kepler's third law with a mass-radius relation for main sequence stars, it was possible to estimate values for the masses and radii of both the primary and secondary objects. This model was successfully tested with the confirmed planets orbiting the stars HD 209458, TrES-1, OGLE-TR-10, 56, 111, 113, and 132. The method consists of selecting as planetary candidates only those objects with primary densities between 0.7 and 2.3 solar densities (F, G, and K stars) and secondaries with radius less than 1.5 Jupiter radius. The method is not able to distinguish between a planet and a dwarf star with mass less than 0.1 M⊙M_\odot, such as OGLE-TR-122. We propose a selection of 28 planetary candidates (OGLE-TR-49, 51, 55, 63, 71, 76, 90, 97, 100, 109, 114, 127, 130, 131, 134, 138, 140, 146, 151, 155, 159, 164, 165, 169, 170, 171, 172, and 174) for high resolution spectroscopy follow up.Comment: 4 figures, 2 table

    Photometric standard stars in the BVI system in a wide field centered on the spiral galaxy NGC 300

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    Based on 13 nights of observations of four fields in NGC 300, we have set up an extensive sequence of stars with accurate BVI photometry covering a relatively large (25 x 25 arcmin) region centered on this galaxy. This sequence of standard stars is very useful for calibrating the photometry of variable stars and other objects in NGC 300 and other galaxies obtained from wide field mosaic images. Our standard star list contains B, V and I measurements for 390 stars. The accuracy of the zero points in the V filter and B-V color is better than 0.02 mag, and about 0.03 mag for the V-I color. We found very good agreement between our measurements and those previously obtained by Walker for 26 stars near NGC 300.Comment: 12 pages, Latex, 1 Figure in gif format, 1 Table as postscript file. P.A.S.P. in pres

    An algorithm to detect blends with eclipsing binaries in planet transit searches

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    We present an algorithm that can detect blends of bright stars with fainter, un-associated eclipsing binaries. Such systems contaminate searches for transiting planets, in particular in crowded fields where blends are common. Spectroscopic follow-up observations on large aperture telescopes have been used to reject these blends, but the results are not always conclusive. Our approach exploits the fact that a blend with a eclipsing binary changes its shape during eclipse. We analyze original imaging data from the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE), which were used to discover planet transit candidates. Adopting a technique developed in weak gravitational lensing to carefully correct for the point spread function which varies both with time and across the field, we demonstrate that ellipticities can be measured with great accuracy using an ensemble of images. Applied to OGLE-TR-3 and OGLE-TR-56, two of the planetary transit candidates, we show that both systems are blended with fainter stars, as are most other stars in the OGLE fields. Moreover, while we do not detect shape change when TR-56 undergoes transits, TR-3 exhibits a significant shape change during eclipses. We therefore conclude that TR-3 is indeed a blend with an eclipsing binary, as has been suggested from other lines of evidence. The probability that its shape change is caused by residual systematics is found to be less than 0.6%. Our technique incurs no follow-up cost and requires little human interaction. As such it could become part of the data pipeline for any planetary transit search to minimize contamination by blends. We briefly discuss its relevance for the Kepler mission and for binary star detection.Comment: Submitted to ApJ, 10 pages, 10 figure

    On the Period Distribution of Close-In Extrasolar Giant Planets

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    Transit (TR) surveys for extrasolar planets have recently uncovered a population of ``very hot Jupiters,'' planets with orbital periods of P< 3 d. At first sight this may seem surprising, given that radial velocity (RV) surveys have found a dearth of such planets, despite the fact that their sensitivity increases with decreasing P. We examine the confrontation between RV and TR survey results, paying particular attention to selection biases that favor short-period planets in transit surveys. We demonstrate that, when such biases and small-number statistics are properly taken into account, the period distribution of planets found by RV and TR surveys are consistent at better than the 1-sigma level. This consistency holds for a large range of reasonable assumptions. In other words, there are not enough planets detected to robustly conclude that the RV and TR short-period planet results are inconsistent. Assuming a logarithmic distribution of periods, we find that the relative frequency of very hot Jupiters (VHJ: P=1-3 d) to hot Jupiters (HJ: P=3-9 d) is 10-20%. Given an absolute frequency of HJ of ~1%, this implies that approximately one star in ~500-1000 has a VHJ. We also note that VHJ and HJ appear to be distinct in terms of their upper mass limit. We discuss the implications of our results for planetary migration theories, as well as present and future TR and RV surveys.Comment: 11 pages, 4 figures, 2 tables. Minor changes. Accepted to ApJ, to appear in the April 20, 2005 issue (v623

    The Araucaria Project. The Distance to the Local Group Galaxy NGC 6822 from Cepheid Variables discovered in a Wide-Field Imaging Survey

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    We have obtained mosaic images of NGC 6822 in V and I bands on 77 nights. From these data, we have conducted an extensive search for Cepheid variables over the entire field of the galaxy, and we have found 116 such variables with periods ranging from 1.7 to 124 days. We used the long-period (>> 5.6 days) Cepheids to establish the period-luminosity relations in V, I and in the reddening-independent Wesenheit index, which are all very tightly defined. Fitting the OGLE LMC slopes in the various bands to our data, we have derived distance values for NGC 6822 in V, I and WI{\rm W}_{\rm I} which agree very well among themselves. Our adopted best distance value from the reddening-free Wesenheit index is 23.34 ±\pm 0.04 (statistical) ±\pm 0.05 (systematic) mag. This value agrees within the combined 1 sigma uncertainties with a previous distance value derived for NGC 6822 by McAlary et al. from near-IR photometry of 9 Cepheids, but our new value is significantly more accurate. We compare the slopes of the Cepheid PL relation in V and I as determined in the five best-observed nearby galaxies, which span a metallicity range from -1.0 to -0.3 dex, and find the data consistent with no metallicity dependence of the PL relation slope in this range. Comparing the magnitudes of 10-day Cepheids with the I-band magnitudes of the TRGB in the same set of galaxies, there is no evidence either for a significant variation of the period-luminosity zero points in V and I. The available data limit such a zero point variation to less than 0.03 mag, in the considered low-metallicity regime.Comment: Latex, Astronomical Journal accepte

    Microlensing of Circumstellar Disks

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    We investigate the microlensing effects on a source star surrounded by a circumstellar disk, as a function of wavelength. The microlensing light curve of the system encodes the geometry and surface brightness profile of the disk. In the mid- and far-infrared, the emission of the system is dominated by the thermal emission from the cold dusty disk. For a system located at the Galactic center, we find typical magnifications to be of order 10-20% or higher, depending on the disk surface brightness profile, and the event lasts over one year. At around 20 microns, where the emission for the star and the disk are comparable, the difference in the emission areas results in a chromatic microlensing event. Finally, in the near-infrared and visible, where the emission of the star dominates, the fraction of star light directly reflected by the disk slightly modifies the light curve of the system which is no longer that of a point source. In each case, the corresponding light curve can be used to probe some of the disk properties. A fraction of 0.1% to 1% optical microlensing events are expected to be associated with circumstellar disk systems. We show that the lensing signal of the disk can be detected with sparse follow-up observations of the next generation space telescopes. While direct imaging studies of circumstellar disks are limited to the solar neighborhood, this microlensing technique can probe very distant disk systems living in various environments and has the potential to reveal a larger diversity of circumstellar disks.Comment: 9 pages, 7 figures. Accepted for publication in Ap