Tuesday, April 16, 2013

1304.3455 (Andrew Gould)

LSST's DC Bias Against Planets and Galactic-Plane Science    [PDF]

Andrew Gould
An LSST-like survey of the Galactic plane (deep images every 3-4 days) could probe the Galactic distribution of planets by two distinct methods: gravitational microlensing of planets beyond the snow line and transits by planets very close to their hosts. The survey would identify over 250 disk-lens/disk-source microlensing events per year that peak at r<19, including 10% reaching the high magnification A>100 that makes them especially sensitive to planets. Intensive followup of these events would be required to find planets, similar to what is done presently for Galactic bulge microlensing. The same data would enable a wealth of other science, including detection of isolated black holes, systematic study of brown-dwarf binaries, a pre-explosion lightcurve of the next Galactic supernova, pre-explosion lightcurves of stellar mergers, early nova lightcurves, proper motions of many more stars than can be reached by GAIA, and probably much more. As usual, the most exciting discoveries from probing the huge parameter space encompassed by Galactic-plane stellar populations might well be serendipitous. Unfortunately, the LSST collaboration plans to exclude the first and fourth quadrants of the Galactic plane from their "synoptic" observations because the DC image that resulted from repeated observations would be limited by crowding. I demonstrate that the majority of this science can be recovered by employing well-developed image subtraction analysis methods, and that the cost to other (high Galactic latitude) science would be negligible.
View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.3455

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