Microlensing consists in two major effects: (1) variation in the apparent position of the background sources (astrometric component) and (2) flux variations of the background sources (photometric component). While the latter has been extensively used in the search for dark objects in the Galactic disk and halo (projects like MACHO (Alcock et al, 1997), EROS (Derue et al, 1999), OGLE (Paczynski et al, 1994)), the first effect has not yet been part of a systematic observational program, simply because the observations of very slight displacements in the positions of background sources requires an astrometric accuracy which current telecopes do not yet provide. We investigate here whether the astrometric accuracy of GAIA could enable such measurements and, as a consequence, enable new, direct and original measurements of the mass of nearby stars.
- Pub Date:
- August 2001
- 4 pages, 4 figures, to appear in the conference proceedings of "European meeting, Census of the Galaxy: Challenges for photometry and spectrometry with GAIA. Vilnius 2-6 July 2001