EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 393, Number 1, October I 2002
Page(s) 129 - 147
Section Galactic structure and dynamics
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20021027

A&A 393, 129-147 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20021027

Microlensing towards the Large Magellanic Cloud

Ph. Jetzer1, L. Mancini1, 2, 3 and G. Scarpetta2, 4, 3

1  Institut für Theoretische Physik der Universität Zürich, 8057 Zürich, Switzerland
2  Dipartimento di Fisica "E.R. Caianiello", Università di Salerno, 84081 Baronissi (SA), Italy
3  Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, sez. Napoli, Italy
4  International Institute for Advanced Scientific Studies, Vietri sul Mare (SA), Italy

(Received 18 March 2002 / Accepted 11 July 2002 )

The nature and the location of the lenses discovered in the microlensing surveys done so far towards the LMC remain unclear. Motivated by these questions we compute the optical depth and particularly the number of expected events for self-lensing for both the MACHO and EROS2 observations. We calculate these quantities also for other possible lens populations such as thin and thick disk and galactic spheroid. Moreover, we estimate for each of these components the corresponding average event duration and mean mass using the mass moment method. By comparing the theoretical quantities with the values of the observed events it is possible to put some constraints on the location and the nature of the MACHOs. Clearly, given the large uncertainties and the few events at disposal it is not possible to draw sharp conclusions, nevertheless we find that certainly at least 3-4 MACHO events are due to lenses in LMC, which are most probably low mass stars, but that hardly all events can be due to self-lensing. This conclusions is even stronger when considering the EROS2 events, due to their spatial distribution. The most plausible solution is that the events observed so far are due to lenses belonging to different intervening populations: low mass stars in the LMC, in the thick disk, in the spheroid and possibly some true MACHOs in the halo.

Key words: gravitational lensing -- cosmology: dark matter -- stars: white dwarfs -- Galaxy: halo -- galaxies: Magellanic Clouds

Offprint request: Ph. Jetzer, jetzer@physik.unizh.ch

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