AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 66. Extra-Solar Planets and Vega
Oral, Tuesday, January 8, 2002, 10:00-11:30am, International Ballroom Center

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[66.01] The EXPLORE Project: A Microlensing Search for Free-Floating Terrestrial-Mass Planets

S. Seager (Institute for Advanced Study), G. Mallen-Ornelas (Princeton University and P. Universidad Catolica de Chile), D. Minniti (P. Universidad Catolica de Chile), H.K.C. Yee (University of Toronto), M.D. Gladders (Observatories of the Carnegie Institution), G.M. Mallen (Sociedad Astronomica de Mexico)

We describe and present preliminary results from our microlensing search for free-floating terrestrial-mass extrasolar planets. Using the MOSAIC II 36'x36' wide-field imager on the CTIO 4m telescope for 11 nights (6 clear) in June 2001, we followed a single field near the galactic plane (as part of an ongoing planet transit search). We monitored ~300,000 stars with I < 20, with 2.75 minute time sampling. The high time sampling allows us to detect fully resolved ~hour-long gravitational microlensing events caused by free-floating terrestrial-mass planets. This search is also sensitive to longer duration events from more massive free-floating planets. Although the expected event probability is low, this is a pilot study, and more telescope time will increase the detection probability.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: seager@ias.edu

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