Microlensing Takes Off: Toward the Galactic Distribution of Planets

Microlensing Takes Off: Toward the Galactic Distribution of Planets - Andrew Gould

Andrew Gould
The Ohio State University
February 24, 2015

After 50 years of dreaming about it, space-based microlensing observations are now underway.  A 2014 100-hr Spitzer Pilot Program generated "microlens parallaxes" for dozens of lenses, opening the prospect of measuring the Galactic distribution of planets.  This program will be expanded 8-fold in 2015.  Analogous observations by Kepler will measure the mass function of free-floating planets. WFIRST microlensing observations will, as advertised, "complete the planetary census" but they will do an immense amount of astrophysics as well.  I discuss how microlensing's take off builds on rapid, ongoing, ground-based developments.