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Determining the NIR Microlensing Event Rate at |b| < 2 with the United Kingdom Infrared Survey Telescope

June 4, 2019

When: June 4, 2019 3:30AM

Savannah Jacklin

CALTECH - Vanderbilt University

With the mid-2020s launch of the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) fast approaching, it is becoming increasingly imperative to understand the optimal spatial region for microlensing event detection.  The Galactic center (i.e. where |b| < 2) which has the highest density of potential source stars in the Milky Way, has been historically understudied due to the obscuring properties of its high volume of gas and dust.  The United Kingdom Infrared Survey Telescope (UKIRT) microlensing project has succeed in mitigating some of the reddening effect of Galactic dust by observing in the near-infrared over a baseline from 2015-2018.  Observations in the K and H NIR bands in unique fields have yielded hundreds of microlensing events detected via our UKIRT data reduction pipeline.  We combine our microlensing detections with image-level mock event injections in order to determine our survey’s detection efficiency, and subsequently aim to derive the NIR microlensing event rate per observed square degree.  Here we discuss the methodology of our pipeline as well as preliminary results for the NIR microlensing detection efficiency and event rate.  Understanding the intrinsic NIR microlensing event rate at low Galactic latitude is crucial for informing mission design and field specifications for WFIRST.

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