AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 11 Brown Dwarfs and Exoplanets
Poster, Monday, January 10, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[11.26] Completing the Census of Extrasolar Planets in the Milky Way with the Microlensing Planet Finder

D.P. Bennett (University of Notre Dame), I. Bond (Massey University), E. Cheng (Conceptual Analytics, LLC), S. Friedman (Space Telescope Science Inst.), P. Garnavich (University of Notre Dame), B.S. Gaudi (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA), R. Gilliland (Space Telescope Science Inst.), A. Gould (Ohio State University), M. Greenhouse (NASA/Goddard), K. Griest (UC, San Diego), R. Kimble (NASA/Goddard), J. Lunine (University of Arizona), J. Mather (NASA/Goddard), D. Minniti (Universidad Catolica de Chile), M. Niedner (NASA/Goddard), B. Paczynski (Princeton University), S. Peale (UC, Santa Barbara), B. Rauscher (NASA/Goddard), R. M. Rich (UC, Los Angeles), K. Sahu (Space Telescope Science Inst.), D. Tenerelli (Lockheed Martin Space Systems), A. Udalski (Warsaw University), N. Woolf (University of Arizona), P. Yock (University of Auckland)

The Microlensing Planet Finder (MPF) is a proposed Discovery mission that will complete the first census of extrasolar planets with sensitivity to planets like those in our own solar system. MPF will employ a 1.1m aperture telescope, which images a 1.3 sq. deg. field-of-view in the near-IR, in order to detect extrasolar planets with the gravitational microlensing effect. MPF's sensitivity extends down to planets of 0.1 Earth masses, and MPF can detect Earth-like planets at all separations from 0.7AU to infinity. If the planet:star mass ratios and planetary semi-major axes of our own Solar System are typical, MPF will detect 66 terrestrial planets (Venus/Earth/Mars analogs), 3300 gas giants (Jupiter/Saturn analogs), and 110 ice giants (Uranus/Neptune analogs). Thus, MPF will be able to be able to find analogs to our own Solar System's planets even if planetary systems like ours are not common. MPF's extrasolar planet census will provide critical information needed to understand the formation and frequency of extra solar planetary systems similar to our own.

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© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.