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A small-scale gravitational lens effect. In microlensing, the gravitational field of the lensing object is not strong enough to form distinct images of the background source; instead, it causes an apparent brightening of the source. Stars are expected to vary in brightness in a characteristic manner if low-mass stars or planets pass in front of them, and this effect has been detected for stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud and in the central bulge of our Galaxy.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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