Kepler-like Multi-Plexing for Mass Production of Microlens Parallaxes [EPA]

We show that a wide-field Kepler-like satellite in Solar orbit could obtain microlens parallaxes for several thousand events per year that are identified from the ground, yielding masses and distances for several dozen planetary events. This is roughly an order of magnitude larger than previously-considered narrow-angle designs. Such a satellite would, in addition, roughly double the number of planet detections (and mass/distance determinations). It would also yield a trove of brown-dwarf binaries with masses, and distances and (frequently) full orbits, enable new probes of the stellar mass function, identify isolated black-hole candidates, and more. We show that the actual Kepler satellite, even with degraded pointing, can demonstrate these capabilities and make substantial initial inroads into the science potential. We discuss several “Deltas” to the Kepler satellite aimed at optimizing microlens parallax capabilities. Most of these would reduce costs. The wide-angle approach advocated here has only recently become superior to the old narrow-angle approach.

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Date added: Thu, 17 Oct 13