MACHO Proper Motions from Optical/Infrared Photometry Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Optical/infrared photometry can double the number of proper motion measurements of Massive Compact Objects (MACHOs) relative to single band photometry. The proper motion of a MACHO can be measured by finding the ratio $q$ of the (known) radius of the source star to the Einstein radius of the MACHO, $q=\theta_s/\theta_e$. A classic method for doing this is to look for the effect on the light curve of the finite size of the source. A modification of this method proposed by Witt (1995) is to look for color changes in the light curve due to the fact that the limb darkening of the source is different in different bands. We demonstrate that the ``classical'' method is not feasible unless the MACHO actually transits the source: if the MACHO passes at say 1.5 source radii, there is still a sizable $\sim 5\%$ effect, but the light curve cannot be distinguished from point-source light curves with different parameters. However, color measurements in $V$ $(0.55\,\mu$m) and $H$ $(1.65\,\mu$m) reduce the errors by a factor $\sim 120$ and permit proper motion measurements at impact parameters of up to 2 source radii. Color maps in $V-H$ are also useful in the detection of planetary systems. Giant stars have a ``red ring'' in such maps. A planet which transits this ring gives rise to a distinctive signature which can help in the measurement of the planetary system's proper motion.

publication date

  • June 1996