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B. Scott Gaudi : Microlensing and the Search for Extrasolar Planets

The PLANET collaboration has monitored nearly 100 microlensing events of which more than 20 have the sensitivity required to detect perturbations due to a planetary companion to the primary lens. No planets have been detected. These null results indicate that Jupiter mass planets with separations from 1-5 AU are not common -- the first such limits for extrasolar planets at these separations by any technique. While interpretation of null results is not trivial, interpretation of future detections will be substantially more difficult, due to degeneracies among the planetary fit parameters and degeneracies with perturbations due to other, non-planetary phenomena. The analysis is further complicated by the unusual situation that observational strategies are altered real-time when perturbations are detected. I discuss these difficulties and present methods to cope with them. Finally, I discuss future prospects for microlensing planet searches.

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