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B. S. Gaudi (Harvard-Smithsonian, CfA), J. Anderson (Rice University), D. P. Bennett (Notre Dame), MPF Science Team
Extra-solar planets found by the gravitational microlensing method usually have accurately measured mass ratios, but other parameters are more loosely constrained. These uncertain parameters generally include the individual planet and host star masses, their separation in physical units, and the distance to the star-planet system. We show that the situation is far more favorable for a space-based microlensing survey. The high quality data from a space-based survey allows the measurement of a number of secondary effects which are not usually available from ground-based microlensing observations. These include the direct detection of light from the lens star, measurement of the lens-source proper motion, and measurement of the microlensing parallax effect due to the orbital motion of the Earth around the Sun. We show that the measurement of these secondary effects substantially improves the extra-solar planet parameter determination for the majority of low-mass planets that would be discovered by a space-based microlensing survey, such as the proposed Microlensing Planet Finder.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.