The MACHO Project HST Follow-Up: The Large Magellanic Cloud Microlensing Source Stars

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We present Hubble Space Telescope (HST) WFPC2 photometry of 13 microlensed source stars from the 5.7 year Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) survey conducted by the MACHO Project. The microlensing source stars are identified by deriving accurate centroids in the ground-based MACHO images using difference image analysis (DIA) and then transforming the DIA coordinates to the HST frame. None of these sources is coincident with a background galaxy, which rules out the possibility that the MACHO LMC microlensing sample is contaminated with misidentified supernovae or AGN in galaxies behind the LMC. This supports the conclusion that the MACHO LMC microlensing sample ... continued below

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28 pages

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Nelson, C. A.; Drake, A. J.; Cook, K. H.; Bennett, D. P.; Popowski, P.; Dalal, N. et al. June 25, 2009.

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We present Hubble Space Telescope (HST) WFPC2 photometry of 13 microlensed source stars from the 5.7 year Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) survey conducted by the MACHO Project. The microlensing source stars are identified by deriving accurate centroids in the ground-based MACHO images using difference image analysis (DIA) and then transforming the DIA coordinates to the HST frame. None of these sources is coincident with a background galaxy, which rules out the possibility that the MACHO LMC microlensing sample is contaminated with misidentified supernovae or AGN in galaxies behind the LMC. This supports the conclusion that the MACHO LMC microlensing sample has only a small amount of contamination due to non-microlensing forms of variability. We compare the WFPC2 source star magnitudes with the lensed flux predictions derived from microlensing fits to the light curve data. In most cases the source star brightness is accurately predicted. Finally, we develop a statistic which constrains the location of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) microlensing source stars with respect to the distributions of stars and dust in the LMC and compare this to the predictions of various models of LMC microlensing. This test excludes at {approx}> 90% confidence level models where more than 80% of the source stars lie behind the LMC. Exotic models that attempt to explain the excess LMC microlensing optical depth seen by MACHO with a population of background sources are disfavored or excluded by this test. Models in which most of the lenses reside in a halo or spheroid distribution associated with either the Milky Way or the LMC are consistent which these data, but LMC halo or spheroid models are favored by the combined MACHO and EROS microlensing results.

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28 pages

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  • Journal Name: Submitted to Astrophysical Journal

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  • Report No.: SLAC-PUB-13690
  • Grant Number: AC02-76SF00515
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 958056
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc933544

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  • June 25, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • July 25, 2017, 1:59 p.m.

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Nelson, C. A.; Drake, A. J.; Cook, K. H.; Bennett, D. P.; Popowski, P.; Dalal, N. et al. The MACHO Project HST Follow-Up: The Large Magellanic Cloud Microlensing Source Stars, article, June 25, 2009; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc933544/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.