Heidelberg Joint Astronomical Colloquium

Speaker Joachim Wambsganss
Title How to Find and Count Extrasolar Planets with the Gravitational Microlensing Technique

Gravitational microlensing is a powerful method for the detection of extrasolar planets. In particular its sensitivity to low masses and its capability for global statistical analyses are relevant. The basics of this technique and its current mode of operation will be explained as well as its advantages and disadvantages compared to other planet-search methods. More than a dozen microlensing planets have been discovered so far, some of them with properties surprisingly similar to solar system planets. Some of the detections will be reviewed. A few recent statistical results on the Galactic abundance of bound and possibly unbound extrasolar planets will be presented and discussed. In a brief outlook, the immense potential of microlensing for good statistical inference on the Galactic population of exoplanets will be emphasized, as well as its sensitivity to low mass exoplanets and even exomoons.