[EPA] MOA-2011-BLG-293Lb: First Microlensing Planet possibly in the Habitable Zone

http://arxiv.org/abs/1310.3706


We used Keck adaptive optics observations to identify the first planet discovered by microlensing to lie in or near the habitable zone, i.e., at projected separation $r_\perp=1.1\pm 0.1\,$AU from its $M_{L}=0.86\pm 0.06\,M_\odot$ host, being the highest microlensing mass definitely identified. The planet has a mass $m_p = 4.8\pm 0.3\,M_{\rm Jup}$, and could in principle have habitable moons. This is also the first planet to be identified as being in the Galactic bulge with good confidence: $D_L=7.7\pm 0.44$ kpc. The planet/host masses and distance were previously not known, but only estimated using Bayesian priors based on a Galactic model (Yee et al. 2012). These estimates had suggested that the planet might be a super-Jupiter orbiting an M dwarf, a very rare class of planets. We obtained high-resolution $JHK$ images using Keck adaptive optics to detect the lens and so test this hypothesis. We clearly detect light from a G dwarf at the position of the event, and exclude all interpretations other than that this is the lens with high confidence (95%), using a new astrometric technique. The calibrated magnitude of the planet host star is $H_{L}=19.16\pm 0.13$. We infer the following probabilities for the three possible orbital configurations of the gas giant planet: 53% to be in the habitable zone, 35% to be near the habitable zone, and 12% to be beyond the snow line, depending on the atmospherical conditions.

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Date added: Tue, 15 Oct 13