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Glimpse of a Very Low-Mass Binary System

5 Aug 2014, 22:00 UTC
Glimpse of a Very Low-Mass Binary System
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When a foreground object crosses the line of sight to a background object, the gravitational field of the foreground object can bend light from the background object, resulting in an observable magnification of the background object. This astrophysical phenomenon is known as gravitational microlensing. The foreground object is referred to as the “lens” and the background object is referred to as the “source”. Gravitational microlensing does not depend on the brightness of the “lens”, and so enables the detection of faint or even dark foreground objects that happen to pass in front of luminous background sources.Figure 1: Artist’s impression of a very low-mass binary system comprised of what could be a brown dwarf circling a low-mass star.Figure 2: Light-curve of OGLE-2013-BLG-0102. Jung et al. (2014).As part of the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE), Jung et al. (2014) present the analysis of a gravitational microlensing event. The “lens” object, identified as OGLE-2013-BLG-0102, turns out to be a very low-mass binary system with a mass-ratio of 0.13 between the two components. The primary (i.e. the more massive component) and secondary (i.e. the less massive component) have estimated masses of 0.097 ± 0.011 and 0.013±0.002 solar-masses, respectively. This places the primary at the ...

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