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Session 62 - Workshop on the Future of Antarctic Astrophysics - II.
Topical, Oral session, Wednesday, June 10

[62.20] Advantages of a South Pole Station for Microlensing Planet Searches

A. Gould (Ohio State University)

If a star microlenses a more distant source star and the lensing star has a planet, the planet can cause a brief (hours to a day) perturbation of the microlensing event, thereby betraying its presence. By monitoring ongoing microlensing events, one can therefore hope to detect and characterize the distribution of planetary systems. To maximize the detection rate and information about the planet extracted from each event, it is highly desirable to obtain continuous (24 hour) observations. The addition of a South Pole station would aid microlensing planetary searches in two ways. First, observations could be carried out continuously (except for weather) from a single station from early April to early September. Second, since the weather in Antarctica is substantially independent of the weather on the other three southern continents, the South Pole station in combination with stations on these three continents can dramatically reduce the time lost to bad weather. The problems of observing from the South Pole are considerable, but the benefits are not easily duplicated.

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