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Session 83 - Gravitational Lensing.
Display session, Friday, January 09
Exhibit Hall,

[83.02] The MACHO Project: Preliminary Results from 4 years of SMC observations.

T. Vandehei, K. Griest (UCSD), M. Lehner (Sheffield), C. Alcock, D. Alves, K. Cook, S. Marshall, D. Minniti (LLNL), R. Allsman, T. Axelrod, K. Freeman, B. Peterson, A. Rodgers (MSSSO), M. Pratt (MIT), A. Becker, C. Stubbs, A. Tomaney (UW), D. Bennett (Notre Dame), P. Quinn (ESO), W. Sutherland (Oxford), D. Welch (McMaster)

The MACHO project is a search for dark matter in the form of massive compact halo objects(MACHOs). The project has photometrically monitored tens of millions of stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), and Galactic bulge in search of rare gravitational microlensing events caused by these otherwise invisible objects. Microlensing toward the LMC has allowed powerful statements to be made about the dark population in the halo of our Galaxy, indicating that the MACHO halo fraction could be as high as f\!=\!0.5 with a most probable MACHO mass being \sim\!0.5M_ødot. However, to date the LMC has been the only line of sight out of our Galaxy's halo. Clearly, another line of sight would provide a consistency check on these results, as well as another contraint on models of the halo, in particular on halo flattening. The SMC affords us this second line of sight. Here we give a status report on our upcoming 4 year results toward the SMC. We present the results of a preliminary analysis on over 2.2 million stars from 3 square degrees and discuss the implications for the dark matter in the halo of our Galaxy. A detailed analysis of the microlensing candidates toward the SMC, with blending and parallax fits, will be shown.


This work is dedicated to the memory of Alex Rodgers.

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