Journal Article

Diffractive microlensing – I. Flickering planetesimals at the edge of the Solar system

Jeremy Heyl

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 402, issue 1, pages L39-L43
Published in print February 2010 |
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1745-3933 | DOI:

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Microlensing and occultation are generally studied in the geometric optics limit. However, diffraction may be important when recently discovered Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) occult distant stars. In particular, the effects of diffraction become more important as the wavelength of the observation and the distance to the KBO increase. For sufficiently distant and massive KBOs or Oort cloud objects not only is diffraction important but so is gravitational lensing. For an object similar to Eris but located in the Oort cloud, the signature of gravitational lensing would be detected easily during an occultation and would give constraints on the mass and radius of the object.

Keywords: gravitational lensing; Kuiper Belt; minor planets, asteroids; Oort Cloud

Journal Article.  3294 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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