EDP Sciences
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Volume 442, Number 2, November I 2005
Page(s) 501 - 505
Section Galactic structure, stellar clusters and populations
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20053462

A&A 442, 501-505 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20053462

Source blending effects on microlensing time-histograms and optical depth determination

Y. Alibert1, 2, G. Chabrier2 and G. Massacrier2

1  Physikalisches Institut, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
    e-mail: yann.alibert@phim.unibe.ch
2  C.R.A.L (UMR 5574 CNRS), École Normale Supérieure, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France
    e-mail: chabrier@ens-lyon.fr;gmassacr@ens-lyon.fr

(Received 18 May 2005 / Accepted 28 June 2005 )

Source blending in microlensing experiments is known to modify the Einstein time of the observed events. In this paper, we have conducted Monte-Carlo calculations, using analytical relationships to quantify the effect of blending on the observed event time distribution and optical depth. We show that short events are affected significantly by source blending and that, for moderately blended sources, the optical depth $\tau$ is globally overestimated, because of an underestimation of the exposure. For high blending situations, on the other hand, blending leads to an underestimation of the optical depth. Our results are in agreement with the most recent optical depth determinations toward the Galactic Center of the MACHO and OGLE-II collaborations that use clump giants (less affected by the blending effect) as sources. The blending-corrected, lower optical depth toward the Galactic Bulge is now in good agreement with the value inferred from galactic models, reconciling theoretical and observational determinations.

Key words: Galaxy: stellar content -- galaxies: structure -- gravitational lensing

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