Probing the Spatial Distribution of Extrasolar Planets with Gravitational Microlensing
Under the current microlensing planet search strategy of monitoring events caused by stellar-mass lenses, only planets located within a narrow region of separations from central stars can be effectively detected. However, with the dramatic increase of the monitoring frequency, two additional populations of free-floating and wide-orbit planets can be detected. In this paper, we investigate the lensing properties of events caused by wide-orbit planets and find that the light curves of a
... rves of a significant fraction of these events will exhibit signatures of central stars, enabling one to distinguish them from those caused by free-floating planets. Due to the large primary/planet mass ratio, the effect of the central star endures to considerable separations. We find that for a Jupiter-mass planet the signatures of the central star can be detected with fractional deviations of > 5% from the best-fitting single-lens light curves for > 80% of events caused by bound planets with separations < 10 AU and the probability is still substantial for planets with separations up to 20 AU. Therefore, detecting a large sample of these events will provide useful information about the distribution of extrasolar planets around their central stars. Proper estimation of the probability of distinguishing events caused by wide-orbit planets from those caused by free-floating planets will be important for the correct determination of the frequency of free-floating planets, whose microlensing sample will be contaminated by wide-orbits planets.